Diabolo Ninebark

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Monlo'

Family: Ninebark

Type: Shrub

Other Common Name: Eastern Ninebark

Diabolo Ninebark, scientifically known as Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’, is a captivating deciduous shrub. Its most striking feature is the deep purple, almost black foliage, which provides a stunning contrast in the garden. This robust plant is known for its versatility and ease of care, making it a popular choice among gardeners.

The shrub blooms in late spring to early summer, producing clusters of pinkish-white flowers that beautifully complement its dark leaves. Diabolo Ninebark typically reaches a height and spread of around 6-8 feet, making it an impressive presence in any landscape. Its arching branches and peeling bark add texture and interest, particularly in the winter months.

Apart from its aesthetic appeal, Diabolo Ninebark is drought tolerant once established and can adapt to a variety of soil conditions. This hardiness makes it a reliable and low-maintenance choice for many gardens.

Needs & Preferences

Hardiness Zone: 2b-3a

Pet Friendly: Yes

Moisture Preference: Dry to moist

Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade


Growth Rate: Medium

Average Height (feet): 8

Average Spread (feet): 8

Average Life Span (years): 30

Form: Upright spreading


Flower Color: White

Bloom Season: From late spring to early summer

Foliage Color: Purple

Leaf Fall Color: Red

Foliage Shape: Lobed

Bark Color: Tan

Bark Texture: Peeling

Landscaping Your Yard With Diabolo Ninebark

Diabolo Ninebark’s striking foliage makes it an excellent choice for adding depth and contrast to garden beds and borders. Its dark leaves provide a beautiful backdrop for brightly colored flowers or plants with lighter foliage. Use it as a focal point in a garden design to draw attention and add drama.

This shrub works well in mixed shrub borders, adding structure and a point of interest throughout the year. Its size and shape make it suitable for creating informal hedges or privacy screens. Planting Diabolo Ninebark near green or silver-leafed plants highlights its unique color.

Consider using Diabolo Ninebark in mass plantings for a dramatic effect. Its bold foliage creates a lush, dense screen, ideal for large areas or as a backdrop for other garden features.


Suitable Garden Styles

Modern Garden

In a modern garden, Diabolo Ninebark brings a sophisticated edge with its dark foliage. Its architectural form and color fit well with contemporary garden designs.

Woodland Garden

For woodland gardens, Diabolo Ninebark adds depth and contrast. Its natural shape and adaptability to various conditions make it a fitting choice for this garden style.

Cottage Garden

In a cottage garden, this Ninebark variety provides a dramatic backdrop for traditional cottage flowers. Its flowers add a soft touch to the bold foliage.

Diabolo Ninebark Landscaping Ideas

Plant Diabolo Ninebark along pathways or garden edges. Its arching branches create a sense of movement and guide the eye along the garden’s paths. Grouping several plants together can form an eye-catching hedge or living wall.

Seasonal Interest


In spring, Diabolo Ninebark's leaves emerge in a striking deep purple hue. The pinkish-white flowers bloom, creating a beautiful contrast against the dark foliage.


During summer, the rich purple foliage remains vibrant and provides a dramatic backdrop in the garden. The plant maintains its robust form and color, adding continuous interest.


In the fall, the foliage of Diabolo Ninebark may deepen in color, adding to the autumn landscape's warmth. The plant's natural shape and color changes bring seasonal beauty.


In winter, after the leaves fall, the peeling bark becomes a prominent feature. This adds visual interest to the winter garden, especially when contrasted with snow or bare ground.

Planting Tips

Where to Plant

Diabolo Ninebark is best planted in a location with full sun to partial shade. It thrives in areas where it can spread out, such as open garden beds, borders, or as a standalone feature.


Full sun is ideal for Diabolo Ninebark, as it enhances the color of the foliage. However, it can also tolerate partial shade, where the foliage may turn a slightly lighter shade of purple.


This shrub is adaptable to a variety of soil types but prefers well-drained soil. It can tolerate both dry and moist conditions, making it a versatile choice for different garden environments.


Space plants approximately 6-8 feet apart. This allows each shrub enough room for growth and air circulation, ensuring the health and beauty of the plant.

When to Plant

The best time to plant Diabolo Ninebark is in the spring or early fall. Planting during these cooler temperatures helps the plant establish its root system before the extremes of summer or winter.

How to Plant

Plant at the same depth it was in the container. Loosen the soil around the planting hole to encourage root growth. Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil.

Plant Care Tips


Regular watering is important during the first growing season. Once established, Diabolo Ninebark is relatively drought-tolerant but may benefit from occasional watering during extended dry spells.


Fertilize Diabolo Ninebark in early spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to promote healthy growth and flowering.


Prune in late winter or early spring to maintain the desired shape and size. Regular pruning also encourages healthy new growth.

By Season


Spring Care

In spring, prune to remove any dead or damaged branches and shape the plant. Fertilize to encourage vigorous new growth.

Summer Care

During summer, Diabolo Ninebark requires minimal care. Ensure it receives adequate water during prolonged dry periods.

Fall Care

In fall, no specific care is needed as the plant prepares for dormancy.

Winter Care

Winter care for Diabolo Ninebark is minimal. Its bark provides winter interest, and the shrub is hardy enough to withstand cold temperatures.


How Fast Does Diabolo Ninebark Grow?

Diabolo Ninebark has a moderate growth rate, typically reaching its full size within a few years.

Is Diabolo Ninebark Deer Resistant?

While no plant is completely deer-proof, Diabolo Ninebark is generally considered to have good deer resistance. Its foliage is not a preferred food source for deer.

Can Diabolo Ninebark Be Used for Hedging?

Yes, Diabolo Ninebark is excellent for hedging due to its dense growth habit. Its height and spread make it ideal for creating privacy screens or garden borders.

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