Name: Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Center Glow’ aka the center glow ninebark.
Type of Plant: A large, fountain shaped shrub that’s hardy in zones 2–8. Deciduous, drought tolerant and native to North America. Grows best in full sun but will tolerate as little as 4 hours as long as those 4 hours includes the noon hour when the sun is strongest.
Why I love this: I’m a huge fan of the purple and copper colored ninebark shrubs. They bring so much to the party from spring to fall. A graceful shape, pretty flowers in June, and foliage color all season.
A Word to the Wise: First of all, ‘Center Glow’ gets large. So this probably isn’t a foundation planting shrub, but one for a mixed shrub border or the back of a flower garden. This would even be a great component for a privacy planting as well, since ‘Center Glow’ gets at least 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide.
The only problem I’ve seen with Physocarpus is botrytis. If you see a weird, light colored covering over some leaves and flowers that seems to mummify the tissues, you’ve got botrytis. I’ve found that spraying with an organic fungicide such as Actinovate or Serenade early in the season and as the summer goes on is very helpful.
Know that at any point should this plant not be looking fantastic, you can prune it down to 5” tall (a renovation pruning) in the spring and it will rebound the first year and be fantastic from year 2 on.