Ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius Midnight = 'Jonight' (PBR)

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
ninebark [Midnight]


Physocarpus opulifolius Midnight, commonly known as Ninebark, has a distinctive appearance characterized by its rich, dark purple to almost black foliage. The leaves of this plant are notably three-lobed, resembling those of maple trees, and they maintain their vibrant color from spring until fall. The texture of the foliage is somewhat rough with a matte finish, which contrasts beautifully against the smoother plant surfaces found in a typical garden. Ninebark produces small, pinkish-white flower clusters that add a subtle brilliance during blooming periods. These clusters are spherical in shape and stand out against the dark backdrop of the leaves. Following flowering, the plant forms small, reddish fruits that provide additional visual interest and can attract birds. The plant's branches are notably arching, which creates an elegant, weeping effect that adds to its ornamental value. The bark of Ninebark is also an attractive feature; it peels away in strips to reveal several layers of color, hence its common name. Rough on the surface, the bark peels to show an interesting texture and a mix of colors, which can catch the eye even in the winter months when the plant is devoid of leaves. Overall, Ninebark's year-round ornamental qualities make it a favored choice for gardeners looking to add rich color and varied texture to their landscapes.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Eastern Ninebark, Atlantic Ninebark, Common Ninebark

    • Common names

      Physocarpus opulifolius.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Ninebark is typically not considered highly toxic to humans. However, as with many plants, some individuals may experience mild irritation or an allergic reaction if they have sensitive skin and come into contact with its sap. Ingesting parts of the plant is generally not advised, as it could potentially cause stomach upset or discomfort, though severe poisoning is uncommon. If large amounts are ingested, it's always wise to consult with a medical professional.

    • To pets

      Ninebark is not commonly known to be toxic to pets such as cats and dogs. However, consumption of plant material can lead to gastrointestinal upset in some animals. If a pet consumes a significant amount of Ninebark, it may experience symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. Monitoring your pet for any signs of distress after ingestion and consulting with a veterinarian if symptoms occur is recommended.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      5-6 feet (1.5-1.8 meters)

    • Spread

      4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Easy to Grow: The plant is known for being easy to care for, which makes it suitable for a wide range of gardeners, from beginners to experts.
    • Ornamental Appeal: It features attractive purplish-black foliage and pink-white blooms that can add a dramatic visual interest to gardens.
    • Seasonal Interest: It provides year-round interest with its foliage, flowers in spring, and exfoliating bark in winter.
    • Durable: It is a hardy plant that can tolerate a variety of soil conditions and is resistant to many common pests and diseases.
    • Wildlife Friendly: It can attract beneficial insects and birds, which can help with pollination and pest control in the garden.
    • Drought Tolerant: Once established, it has good resistance to drought, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Versatility: This shrub can be used in a variety of landscape styles, from informal hedges to specimen plantings or even in mixed borders.

  • 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 Backdrop: Ninebark's dark foliage creates a striking contrast for photographers looking to highlight lighter-colored subjects.
    • Ink Production: The dark leaves of the ninebark can potentially be used to create natural dyes or inks.
    • Privacy Screens: When planted in groups or rows, ninebark can develop into dense thickets that are ideal for creating private spaces outdoors.
    • Erosion Control: The robust root system of the ninebark helps stabilize soil on slopes and prevent erosion.
    • Noise Reduction: A hedge of ninebark plants can help dull traffic noise when planted along a road.
    • Craft Material: Flexible stems of the ninebark can be woven into baskets or used as natural elements in floral arrangements.
    • Wildlife Shelter: The dense foliage provides excellent cover for birds and small mammals seeking refuge.
    • Seasonal Decoration: Branches of ninebark with peeling bark and seed pods add visual interest to autumn and winter displays.
    • Frost Protection: Planting ninebark on the periphery of a garden can help to protect more sensitive plants from early frosts by providing a windbreak.
    • Theme Gardens: Ninebark can play a significant role in creating a ‘moonlight’ or 'nocturnal' theme garden due to its dark foliage that stands out in the moonlight.

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

    • Beauty in Darkness: The Physocarpus opulifolius, commonly known as ninebark, often has dark foliage, especially in the 'Midnight' variety. This darkness can symbolize the beauty and richness that can be found in the dark or in shadow, reminding us that not all that is dark is negative.
    • Resilience: Ninebark is known for its hardiness and its ability to thrive in a variety of soil types and conditions. This characteristic embodies resilience and the ability to withstand various challenges.
    • Adaptability: With its flexible nature regarding growing conditions, ninebark symbolizes adaptability and the capability of adjusting to different situations in life.
    • Renewal: Ninebark has a unique quality of exfoliating bark, which peels back to reveal new layers underneath. This can be symbolic of renewal, growth, and the shedding of old layers to make way for the new.
    • Mystery: The deep purple, almost black leaves of the Midnight variety can be associated with mystery and the unknown, encouraging a sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural world.

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

    Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Midnight') should be watered deeply to ensure the roots receive moisture, generally once a week for established plants. During the initial growth after planting or during periods of extreme heat or drought, water should be more frequent, possibly twice a week. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to provide a slow, steady supply of water, aiming for about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, whether from rainfall or irrigation. In winter, reduce watering since the plant is dormant and requires less moisture. Always check the soil moisture before watering to avoid overwatering, as Ninebark prefers a well-drained soil and does not tolerate being waterlogged.

  • sunLight

    Ninebark thrives best in full sun to partial shade, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day for optimal growth and foliage development. The perfect spot for this shrub would be an area that receives morning sun and some afternoon shade, especially in regions with hot summers. However, it can also adapt to shadier conditions, though with a reduced flowering display and possibly looser growth. Avoid deep shade, as this can lead to poor leaf color and reduced vigor.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Ninebark is well-suited to a variety of climates and can handle a temperature range from approximately -30 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This hardy shrub prefers cooler climates and can suffer in areas with high summer heat if not provided some afternoon shade. The ideal temperature for vigorous growth and bloom production ranges from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Adequate mulching can help regulate soil temperature and protect the roots in both extreme heat and cold conditions.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Ninebark should be done to maintain its shape, encourage bushier growth, and remove any dead or diseased branches. The best time to prune is late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Thinning out older stems every few years helps to rejuvenate the plant. After blooming, light pruning can be done to shape the plant or to reduce size if necessary. Always use clean, sharp tools to make clean cuts.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Ninebark 'Jonight' thrives in well-drained loamy soil that has some organic matter mixed in. A pH ranging from neutral to slightly acidic (pH 5.5 to 7.0) is ideal. Amend poor soils with compost to improve fertility and structure.

  • plantRepotting

    Ninebark 'Jonight' is typically grown in the landscape rather than in containers, so repotting is not generally necessary. If grown in containers, repotting every 2-3 years or when rootbound is recommended.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Ninebark 'Jonight' is adaptable to a wide range of humidity conditions and does not require any specific humidity level. It will do fine in the varying humidity levels commonly found outdoors.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Not ideal inside; needs full to part sun, well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sun/part shade, in well-draining soil, water regularly.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Physocarpus opulifolius Midnight, commonly known as Ninebark 'Midnight', begins its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in the spring under suitable temperature and soil moisture conditions. The seedling then grows into a young plant, establishing a root system and producing its first leaves. As it matures, Ninebark 'Midnight' develops woody stems and a rounded, bushy growth habit, reaching up to 5 to 6 feet tall and wide. The plant blooms in late spring to early summer, producing clusters of white or pink flowers that attract pollinators and subsequently, if pollinated, develop into small red fruits (follicles) that may persist into winter. Throughout its lifetime, Ninebark 'Midnight' will undergo seasonal cycles of growth, flowering, and dormancy, typically with vibrant foliage that can include shades of purple, red, and green. This deciduous shrub has a relatively long lifespan and can continue its cycle for several years, with proper care and favorable conditions.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Propogation: The Ninebark 'Jonight', commonly known as Physocarpus opulifolius Midnight, is typically propagated by softwood cuttings. This method is considered the most popular due to its effectiveness and simplicity. To begin, healthy, new-growth stems are selected in late spring or early summer when they are still green and flexible. Cuttings should be about 4 to 6 inches long, with a clean cut just below a leaf node. Leaves on the lower half of the cutting are removed, and the cut end is often dipped in a rooting hormone to encourage root development. The cuttings are then placed in a well-draining soil mix, ensuring that at least two sets of leaf nodes are buried. A high humidity environment is maintained for the cuttings to root, which usually occurs within a few weeks.