Physocarpus opulifolius 'Monlo' (Diablo®)

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’ Family: Rosaceae
(fy-so-KAR-pus op-yew-lih-FOE-lee-us)
syn. Physocarpus opulifolius Diablo®

Common name: ninebark
Zone: 3 – 7
Height: 6-10 ft (1.8-3 m) Spread: 6-10 ft (1.8-3 m)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: average; well-draining
Water: moderate

Description: A deciduous shrub with upright, arching branches. Ovate, three-lobed, toothed leaves are a delicious dark chocolate colour tinged with purple. Corymbs of white flowers with tinges of pink appear in early summer.


Special Notes: Native to North America. Foliage can turn a dark green colour in excessive heat or when grown in excessive shade. Flowers on last year’s wood; prune for shaping right after flowering to remove crossed branches or dead wood. Wonderful exfoliating bark for winter interest. Propagate by seed; softwood cuttings in summer; rooted suckers in spring or autumn.


RHS Award of Garden Merit 2002


In our Zone 7a garden: A few of the dark leaves have shown areas of reversion to green, typically along the mid-vein. No major reversion change on the shrub as a whole has been noted, as in whole branches of leaves reverting to a variegation of dark chocolate mixed with green. There have just been one varied leaf here and one there kind of occurrence. If the appearance of leaf variegation disturbs you, the leaf is easily removed. Even with the odd leaf reversion happening…this is one of our favourite plants. Give it space in your garden to adequately show off its stellar vase-like form.



Posted on August 29, 2012; updated on February 3, 2013