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The Spicy Devil® Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'ZLENatalie') is a stunning and versatile deciduous shrub, renowned for its vibrant foliage, distinctive bark, and hardy nature. This cultivar of the Ninebark family showcases a unique blend of attributes that make it an excellent choice for homeowners and landscapers alike.
One of the most striking features of the Spicy Devil® Ninebark is its foliage, which displays an array of fiery colors throughout the seasons. The leaves emerge a bright shade of red in the spring, transitioning to a deep burgundy hue during the summer months. As autumn approaches, the foliage takes on a brilliant mixture of red, orange, and gold, creating a spectacular display that adds warmth and vibrancy to any landscape. The serrated edges of the leaves give the plant added texture and visual interest.
The Spicy Devil® Ninebark is also admired for its exfoliating bark, which peels away in layers to reveal a stunning mix of cinnamon-brown and gray hues. This unique characteristic not only adds visual appeal but also provides a habitat for various small insects, contributing to the biodiversity within the garden.
Adaptable and low-maintenance, the Spicy Devil® Ninebark thrives in a wide range of soil conditions, from clay to sandy loams, and can tolerate both moist and dry environments. It is a resilient plant that can withstand harsh weather conditions, making it suitable for USDA hardiness zones 3-7. With a moderate growth rate, this shrub can reach a mature height and spread of 3-4 feet, creating a dense and full appearance that is perfect for privacy screening, borders, or as a specimen plant in the garden.
In late spring to early summer, the Spicy Devil® Ninebark produces clusters of dainty, white or pale pink flowers that attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. These blossoms give way to small, reddish-purple fruits known as drupes, which persist into the winter and provide a valuable food source for birds and other wildlife.
The Spicy Devil® Ninebark is a remarkable plant that boasts a unique combination of stunning foliage, exfoliating bark, and adaptability to various growing conditions. Its low-maintenance nature and year-round visual interest make it an ideal choice for adding color and texture to any landscape design.
The Spicy Devil® Ninebark's versatile nature and stunning attributes make it an excellent choice for various landscaping uses. Its vibrant foliage, exfoliating bark, and hardy characteristics allow it to serve multiple purposes in landscape design. Some popular landscaping uses for this plant include:
- Privacy Screening: With its dense and full growth habit, the Spicy Devil® Ninebark is an ideal choice for creating a natural privacy screen. Planting a row of these shrubs along property lines or around outdoor living spaces can provide a visually appealing barrier that also offers privacy and noise reduction.
- Foundation Plantings: As a medium-sized shrub, the Spicy Devil® Ninebark is well-suited for foundation plantings around homes or other structures. Its striking foliage color and interesting bark texture can create an attractive backdrop that enhances the appearance of any building.
- Borders and Edging: The Spicy Devil® Ninebark can be used to create stunning borders and edging along pathways, driveways, or garden beds. Its vibrant color palette and dense growth habit make it an eye-catching addition to any landscape design.
- Specimen Plant: Due to its unique combination of attributes, the Spicy Devil® Ninebark can serve as a focal point in the landscape when planted as a specimen plant. Its fiery foliage and distinctive bark can create a striking visual impact when placed in a prominent position within the garden.
- Wildlife Habitat: The Spicy Devil® Ninebark's flowers, fruits, and exfoliating bark create a welcoming environment for various wildlife species. Planting this shrub can help attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, while also providing food and shelter for birds and small insects.
- Erosion Control: The Spicy Devil® Ninebark's adaptability to a range of soil conditions, along with its dense root system, make it suitable for erosion control on slopes and embankments. Planting these shrubs can help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion while adding visual interest to the area.
- Mixed Shrub Borders: The Spicy Devil® Ninebark can be combined with other shrubs and perennials in a mixed border to create a dynamic and visually engaging landscape design. Its bold foliage color and unique bark texture complement various plant species, adding depth and dimension to the garden.
The Spicy Devil® Ninebark's versatility and appealing features make it an excellent choice for various landscaping applications. Whether used for privacy screening, foundation plantings, or as a focal point, this hardy shrub can enhance any landscape design with its vibrant colors and unique attributes.
Planting and caring for a Spicy Devil® Ninebark is relatively straightforward, as it is a low-maintenance and adaptable shrub. Here are some essential tips for planting and caring for this attractive plant:
- Choose a suitable location: Spicy Devil® Ninebark thrives in full sun to partial shade, but it produces the most vibrant foliage colors when exposed to at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Ensure that the planting site has well-draining soil and enough space for the shrub to reach its mature size of 6-8 feet tall and wide.
- Planting time: The ideal time to plant a Spicy Devil® Ninebark is during the early spring or fall when temperatures are moderate and soil moisture is sufficient.
- Dig a hole: Prepare a hole that is twice as wide and slightly deeper than the root ball of the plant. This will allow the roots to spread out and establish themselves easily in their new environment.
- Planting the shrub: Gently remove the Spicy Devil® Ninebark from its container, being cautious not to damage the roots. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. Fill the hole with soil, firming it gently to eliminate air pockets. Water the plant thoroughly to help settle the soil around the roots.
- Watering: During the first growing season, water the Spicy Devil® Ninebark regularly to help establish a healthy root system. Once established, the shrub is relatively drought-tolerant, but it's essential to maintain consistent moisture levels, especially during hot or dry spells.
- Fertilizing: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring to promote healthy growth and vibrant foliage. Follow the fertilizer package's instructions for application rates and methods.
- Pruning: Prune the Spicy Devil® Ninebark in late winter or early spring, before new growth emerges. Remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches, and shape the plant as desired. Moderate pruning can help maintain the shrub's size and encourage a more compact, bushy growth habit.
- Mulching: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark, around the base of the Spicy Devil® Ninebark. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. Be sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk to prevent rot and pest infestations.
- Pest and Disease Management: The Spicy Devil® Ninebark is relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but it's essential to monitor the plant for signs of any issues. If you notice pests or signs of disease, consult your local garden center or extension service for appropriate treatment options.
By following these planting and care guidelines, you can enjoy the beauty and resilience of the Spicy Devil® Ninebark in your landscape for years to come. Its low-maintenance nature and eye-catching attributes make it a valuable addition to any garden or outdoor space.
- Height: 3-4'
- Width: 3-4'
- Hardiness Zone: 3-7
- Heat Zone: 7
- Exposure: Full Sun
- Habit: Upright Rounded
- Flower Color: White
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