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Lucky Devil® Ninebark

Physocarpus opulifolius 'ZLEMichael'

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Lucky Devil Ninebark with yellow foliage

Discover More Information On Lucky Devil® Ninebark

With bright yellow leaves, Lucky Devil® Ninebark is a spectacular shrub to serve as a focal point, informal hedge, or along the foundation of your home. With a mature size of 3-4' tall and wide, beautiful white blooms in spring, and orange fall color, this compact shrub is a multi-season wonder in cool and moderate climates. While some yellow-leafed plants may bleach out in full sun, Lucky Devil® maintains its bright color to capture attention and serve as a strong accent to other plants in the landscape.

Plant Attributes

The Lucky Devil® Ninebark, known botanically as Physocarpus opulifolius 'ZLEMichael', is an exceptional cultivar of the ninebark family that has gained popularity among garden enthusiasts for its striking foliage, impressive hardiness, and year-round interest. Native to North America, this deciduous shrub is versatile and adaptable, making it an excellent choice for various landscape designs.

One of the most remarkable attributes of the Lucky Devil® Ninebark is its stunning foliage. This cultivar boasts deep burgundy leaves that retain their color throughout the growing season, adding a captivating contrast against other green foliage in the garden. The serrated leaves are arranged in a spiral pattern, with each leaf measuring about 3 inches long. In the spring, small clusters of pinkish-white flowers bloom, creating a lovely contrast against the dark foliage. As the flowers fade, they are replaced by small, red fruit capsules that persist into the fall, providing visual interest and food for local wildlife.

The Lucky Devil® Ninebark is a vigorous and hardy shrub, growing up to 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide, making it suitable for use as a hedge, specimen plant, or even in mass plantings. It can tolerate a wide range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soils, as well as acidic or alkaline conditions. The plant is drought-tolerant once established, and it can withstand harsh winters, being hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7. This resilience makes it an excellent choice for low-maintenance gardens or urban environments.

Another attractive feature of the Lucky Devil® Ninebark is its exfoliating bark, which peels away in layers, revealing lighter shades of brown and tan beneath. This characteristic is most noticeable in the winter months when the leaves have dropped, adding interest to the garden during the colder seasons. The plant's dense branching also provides shelter for birds and other small wildlife, making it a valuable addition to a wildlife-friendly garden.

The Lucky Devil® Ninebark is a striking and versatile plant that offers a unique blend of attributes, including its deep burgundy foliage, hardiness, and adaptability. It is an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add year-round interest to their landscape while supporting local wildlife.

Landscape Use

The Lucky Devil® Ninebark is a versatile plant that can be incorporated into various landscape designs. Its rich burgundy foliage, hardiness, and adaptability make it an ideal candidate for numerous landscaping uses, some of which are highlighted below:

  1. Hedges and Privacy Screens: With its dense branching and height, the Lucky Devil® Ninebark can be used to create hedges or privacy screens in residential or commercial properties. The shrub's ability to withstand pruning allows for a well-maintained, uniform appearance.
  2. Specimen Plant: Its striking foliage and overall appearance make the Lucky Devil® Ninebark an excellent specimen plant. Its unique color and texture provide visual interest and a focal point in the garden.
  3. Mixed Borders: The deep burgundy foliage of the Lucky Devil® Ninebark creates a beautiful contrast when planted alongside plants with green, blue, or chartreuse leaves. It can be combined with perennials, grasses, and other shrubs to create a dynamic mixed border.
  4. Foundation Plantings: Lucky Devil® Ninebark can be used in foundation plantings to add color and texture near buildings. It can help to soften architectural lines and provide a transition between the structure and surrounding landscape.
  5. Wildlife Gardens: The plant's flowers, fruit capsules, and dense branching offer food and shelter for birds and other small wildlife, making it a valuable addition to a wildlife-friendly garden.
  6. Erosion Control: Due to its adaptability and ability to tolerate various soil types, the Lucky Devil® Ninebark can be planted on slopes or banks to help control erosion and stabilize the soil.
  7. Mass Plantings: In larger landscapes or parks, the shrub can be planted in groups or mass plantings to create a dramatic visual impact, especially when combined with other colorful shrubs and perennials.
  8. Urban Gardens: The plant's hardiness, drought tolerance, and ability to thrive in challenging conditions make it suitable for urban gardens, where it can add color and interest to small spaces or public areas.

The Lucky Devil® Ninebark is a versatile plant that can be used in various landscaping applications, from hedges and privacy screens to mixed borders and foundation plantings. Its striking appearance and adaptability make it an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add visual interest and variety to their landscape designs.

Planting & Care

Planting and caring for the Lucky Devil® Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Lucky Devil') is relatively straightforward due to its hardiness and adaptability. Here are some guidelines to help you plant and care for this stunning shrub:


  1. Location: Choose a location with full sun to partial shade. Although the Lucky Devil® Ninebark can tolerate some shade, its foliage color will be more vibrant in sunnier spots.
  2. Soil: The shrub can grow in a wide range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soils, as well as acidic or alkaline conditions. However, it prefers well-drained soil. Amend the planting area with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil structure and drainage if necessary.
  3. Planting hole: Dig a hole twice as wide and as deep as the root ball of your shrub. Gently loosen the roots and place the plant in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.
  4. Backfill and water: Fill the hole with soil, gently firming it down to eliminate air pockets. Water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.
  5. Mulch: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as bark chips or compost, around the base of the plant to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the stem to avoid potential issues with rot or pests.


  1. Watering: While the Lucky Devil® Ninebark is drought-tolerant once established, it requires regular watering during its first growing season to encourage a deep and healthy root system. Afterward, water during periods of extreme heat or extended dry spells.
  2. Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring to promote healthy growth. Follow the product instructions for application rates and methods.
  3. Pruning: Prune the shrub in late winter or early spring to maintain its shape and size, as well as to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches. The Lucky Devil® Ninebark tolerates pruning well, so it can be cut back quite hard if needed. However, keep in mind that flowers form on old wood, so excessive pruning may reduce flowering the following season.
  4. Pest and disease control: The Lucky Devil® Ninebark is relatively resistant to common pests and diseases. However, it is still essential to monitor your plant for any signs of trouble, such as aphids, scale insects, or powdery mildew. Treat issues promptly using appropriate cultural, biological, or chemical methods, depending on the severity of the problem and your personal preferences.

By following these planting and care guidelines, you can enjoy the striking foliage, flowers, and bark of the Lucky Devil® Ninebark, while maintaining a healthy and attractive shrub in your landscape.

Additional Information

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Lucky Devil® Ninebark


Plant Features

  • Height: 3-4'
  • Width: 3-4'
  • Hardiness Zone: 3-7
  • Heat Zone: 7
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Habit: Upright Rounded
  • Flower Color: White
  • Foliage: Yellow

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