Ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius 'Luteus'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
ninebark 'Luteus'


Physocarpus opulifolius 'Luteus', commonly known as the golden ninebark, is a deciduous shrub celebrated for its vibrant foliage and overall ornamental appeal. The leaf of this plant is perhaps its most striking feature, exhibiting a bright yellow color that can add a splash of sunshine to any landscape. These leaves are lobed, resembling those of a maple tree, and they flaunt their golden hues throughout the spring and summer months. As seasons change, the foliage can take on a more muted yellow or even lime green shade, offering a softer but still attractive look. Adding to its decorative charm, the golden ninebark produces clusters of small, white to pinkish flowers in the spring. These flowers stand out against the yellow leaves and can attract an array of pollinators to the garden. Following the flowering period, the plant may develop small red fruits which can bring additional visual interest and also provide food for wildlife. The bark of this shrub is another notable characteristic. It exfoliates with age, creating an appealing textured effect on the stems. The bark peels back in layers revealing shades of brown and tan underneath, which provide a beautiful contrast to the bright foliage and adds winter interest to the plant when leaves have fallen. The plant's branches form a naturally arching habit, giving the shrub a relaxed and spreading appearance. This characteristic, combined with its vibrant leaves, makes the golden ninebark a lovely choice for gardeners looking to create a focal point or to add a pop of color to their outdoor spaces without worrying about the specific dimensions.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Ninebark, Atlantic Ninebark, Eastern Ninebark, Common Ninebark, Yellow Ninebark

    • Common names

      Physocarpus opulifolius 'Luteus'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Luteus') is not widely known for its toxicity to humans. This ornamental shrub is generally considered safe, and there are no common reports of serious toxic effects from ingesting parts of this plant. However, as with many plants, sensitive individuals may experience mild stomach upset or allergic reactions if parts of the plant are ingested or if there is significant skin contact. It is always advisable to exercise caution and prevent children from ingesting plants.

    • To pets

      The Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Luteus') is not widely known for its toxicity to pets. It is typically considered non-toxic to cats, dogs, and other domestic animals. However, it is always best to discourage pets from eating any non-food plants because individual animals may have different sensitivities, and ingestion of plant material can sometimes lead to gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea. If a pet shows any signs of illness after ingesting this plant, it is best to consult a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      5-8 feet (152-244 cm)

    • Spread

      5-8 feet (152-244 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: The Physocarpus opulifolius 'Luteus', commonly known as Ninebark, is primarily appreciated for its ornamental appeal, with its yellow to golden leaves bringing a splash of color to gardens and landscapes.
    • Easy Care: Ninebark is a low-maintenance plant that is adaptable to a range of soil types, and once established, requires minimal care, making it a good choice for both amateur and experienced gardeners.
    • Durability: This plant is known for its hardiness and can withstand harsh conditions, including drought, heat, and cold, which makes it suitable for various climates.
    • Pest Resistance: Ninebark has natural resistance to many common garden pests, reducing the need for chemical treatments to keep it healthy.
    • Erosion Control: With its dense rooting system, Ninebark can help to prevent soil erosion, making it beneficial for planting on slopes or in areas prone to erosion.
    • Wildlife Attraction: Ninebark provides shelter and food for wildlife, such as birds and beneficial insects, thereby supporting local biodiversity.
    • Seasonal Interest: Ninebark features small white or pink flowers in spring and exfoliating bark in winter, offering visual interest across different seasons.
    • Privacy Screen: Because of its dense foliage and growth habit, Ninebark can be used as a hedge or privacy screen in gardens and landscapes.
    • Companion Planting: Ninebark's vibrant foliage complements other plants, making it an excellent choice for mixed borders and companion planting designs.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Photography: Ninebark 'Luteus' is often used as background foliage in outdoor photography due to its vibrant yellow-green leaves which provide a beautiful contrast.
    • Artistic Inspiration: The unique peeling bark and arching branches of Ninebark 'Luteus' can serve as a natural model for artists and sculptors seeking organic forms and textures.
    • Educational Tool: This plant can be used in educational settings to teach about plant adaptation, particularly how its bark helps protect against environmental stress and aids in survival.
    • Habitat Creation: Ninebark 'Luteus' can be used to create habitats for wildlife, offering shelter and nesting sites for birds and insects.
    • Nocturnal Garden Themes: The light foliage of Ninebark 'Luteus' can reflect moonlight, making it a great addition to nocturnal or moon gardens.
    • Erosion Control: Because of its extensive root system, Ninebark 'Luteus' is useful for stabilizing soil on slopes and preventing erosion.
    • Natural Dividers: This dense and bushy shrub can be employed as a natural space divider in gardens, parks, or as a privacy screen.
    • Winter Interest: The exfoliating bark and persistent fruit of Ninebark 'Luteus' adds visual interest to gardens during the bare winter months.
    • Support for Climbing Plants: The sturdy structure of Ninebark 'Luteus' can support lighter climbing plants or vines that may need a host to grow upon.
    • Windbreak: Planting Ninebark 'Luteus' in rows can help reduce wind speed in open areas, protecting smaller plants and reducing wind damage.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Ninebark is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Ninebark is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Adaptability - Physocarpus opulifolius 'Luteus', commonly known as Ninebark, is known for its ability to adapt to various soil conditions and climates, representing the quality of adaptability in humans.
    • Resilience - Ninebark's hardiness and capability to withstand harsh environments symbolize resilience and the capacity to recover from challenges.
    • Transformation - The plant's changing foliage color from yellow to green and its peeling bark represent transformation and the beauty of change over time.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Ninebark 'Luteus' should be watered thoroughly, allowing the water to soak into the roots, and then let the top inch of soil dry out between watering sessions. It typically requires 1-2 gallons of water per week, depending on the weather and soil type. Over-watering can lead to root rot, so ensure proper drainage. During the growing season in spring and summer, you might need to water the Ninebark more frequently, especially if there are extended periods of heat and drought. In contrast, reduce watering in fall and winter when the plant is dormant.

  • sunLight

    Ninebark 'Luteus' thrives best in full sun to partial shade conditions. This means the ideal spot would receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight but is also tolerant of light shade, especially in the afternoon. An area that gets morning sun and some afternoon protection is typically ideal, particularly in warmer climates where intense afternoon sun might stress the plant.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Ninebark 'Luteus' is hardy and can endure a wide temperature range. It can withstand temperatures down to around -30°F and can survive up to about 100°F. The ideal temperature range for promoting healthy growth typically lies between 60°F and 80°F. Avoid placing your Ninebark in areas where temperatures can fall below its minimum tolerance as it may cause damage to the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Ninebark 'Luteus' benefits from pruning to maintain shape, remove any dead or damaged wood, and encourage healthy growth. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Prune selectively to open up the plant's structure, which promotes air circulation and reduces disease risk. It's advisable to prune every year or two, depending on the plant's size and your desired shape.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Ninebark, commonly known as 'Luteus', thrives in a soil mix that is well-draining, rich in organic matter, and slightly acidic to neutral pH (5.5 to 7.0). A good recipe for ninebark would be a mix of loam, peat, and coarse sand or perlite to ensure proper drainage and aeration. Amend the soil with compost before planting to improve fertility.

  • plantRepotting

    Ninebark does not need frequent repotting and typically thrives when planted directly in the ground. However, if grown in a container, repotting every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current pot is recommended to provide fresh soil and encourage healthy growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Ninebark is adaptable to a wide range of humidity levels and does not require any special humidity adjustments, making it ideal for typical outdoor environments where the plant is most commonly grown.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Ninebark in a bright spot and water regularly.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Ninebark in a sunny spot with well-draining soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      2-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Physocarpus opulifolius 'Luteus', commonly known as Ninebark 'Luteus', begins its life as a seed which germinates in the early spring under favorable conditions of moisture and temperature. The seedling emerges and, provided with sufficient sunlight and nutrients, it develops into a young plant with characteristic yellow-green foliage. As the plant matures, it grows into a deciduous shrub with arching branches, usually reaching maturity within several years. During the spring and early summer, Ninebark 'Luteus' produces clusters of white to light pink flowers, which attract pollinators and subsequently develop into small, red fruit clusters (follicles) that mature by autumn and release seeds. The plant's foliage may turn reddish in the fall before the leaves drop, entering a dormant state through the winter. The life cycle continues as new seeds germinate the following spring or seeds may remain dormant until conditions are right for germination in subsequent years.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Physocarpus opulifolius 'Luteus', commonly known as Golden Ninebark, is most effectively propagated by softwood cuttings taken in late spring to early summer. To propagate by this method, select a healthy, young stem that has not yet flowered and is about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long. Cut the stem just below a node, where a leaf joins the stem, as this area contains high concentrations of growth-promoting hormones. To encourage root development, the base of the cuttings can be dipped in a rooting hormone powder or solution. Plant the prepared cuttings in a well-draining soil mix, and maintain consistent moisture without saturating the soil. Provide indirect light and warmth to facilitate the development of roots, which typically takes several weeks. Once the cuttings have established roots, they can then be transplanted outdoors to their final growing location.