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Physocarpus 'Summer Wine' gets HOW big!!!

August 18, 2006

I bought this plant last year from Bluestone; it arrived about 6 inches tall. This season it is over 8 feet tall. I suspect it will get as large as 'Diablo'.

Anybody else seeing the same thing?

Comments (14)

  • WendyB

    I thought it was supposed to be a "compact" plant. Guess Not!

    I bought a 12" one this year. It hasn't done much of anything.

    Is yours in full sun, moist soil? how's the color doing?

  • kevin_5

    I have two, one now 6', and the other 7', and it doesn't look like they are slowing one bit. They both get moved this fall

  • Embothrium

    I've seen quite large plants of the typical species in the wild out here, a cultivar could be less vigorous and still grow pretty big.

  • laceyvail

    Wendy, my 'Summer Wine' is in full sun, average soil moisture and the color is great, but it's going to be a huge plant.

  • WendyB

    Okay, I bought another one for another location. I'm too impatient for my little mail-order baby to grow up. Its in a tough dry spot so it might take awhile.

    So now I am trying to find a good spot for this plant. The tag says 3-4' wide. Do you believe that? If it is merely (!) tall and not terribly wide, that would lend itself to different locations.

  • ego45

    Maybe they ment 3-4' wide at the base?
    Possible. If so, expect 8-10' spread at least.

  • Tim Wood

    Summer Wine is not dwarf, it's compact and is about 1/3 to 1/2 the size of Diabolo. I have had the plants for four years and it is about 5-6' feet tall, while my Daibolo is about 12 feet tall.

    SW has smaller leaves and more branching. As it matures it takes on a cascading effect which can be quite attractive because it forms flowers up and down the stem.

    I have found that the plant does benefit from pruning at a young age to increase the brancing and flowering. It forms its flower buds in late summer so do not prune after midsummer if you want flowers the next spring.

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • laceyvail

    Summer Wine certainly isn't going to be compact for me. In its second year a number of stems are over 8 feet tall.

  • prairiemoon2 z6 MA


    I have two Summer Wine Ninebark that I got as very small 6 inch tall plants with only 3 branches. This year they got to maybe 2 ft tall with a few more branches, but looking scraggly with long arching branches. I think next year might be the year they will start looking like they should.

    I linked to a photo of how I am expecting/hoping the shrub will look. I am thinking I need to prune it to get it this dense and upright. Can anyone tell me, can they figure out from the photo, how this shrub was pruned to look like this? It didn't flower for me yet, being so small, but I hope it will next year.

    So...from what I am reading here, I should let it flower in the spring, and then prune it immediately after flowering. But how should I prune it? I would like the new branching to come from the base with clean lines. Does that mean I have to cut it all the way back to the ground? Should I leave foliage on it, since it isn't the dormant phase that I am pruning in?

    Thanks for any help you can offer. Oh, one more question, if anyone can answer. I heard they are hard to dig out once established. If I am thinking of moving it, maybe I should do it soon. Anyone have any experience in this regard?

    Thank you :-)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Ninebark 'Summer Wine'

  • laceyvail

    prairiemoon2, my understanding of pruning ninebarks is that you prune late winter/early spring, taking out some of the oldest stems to the ground. This keeps new growth coming, but leaves some second year and older stems for blooming.

    BTW, I hope ninebarks are not too hard to move. I have a friend coming day after tomorrow to help me move a 2 or 3 year old Diablo and several other shrubs, all of them good sized. We should have quite a workout, I guess.

  • prairiemoon2 z6 MA

    laceyvail...wow, what a great friend to help you move shrubs! [g] Please be sure to let me know how it goes.

    thanks :-)

  • laceyvail

    prairiemoon2--this morning my friend and I moved a Viburnum dilatatum 'Cardinal Candy' (which had been moved in spring), a Physocarpus 'Diablo' at least 3 years old, an Abelia mosanensis 3 years old, and a Philadelphus 'Innocence', also 3 years. The hardest was, believe it or not, the 'Cardinal Candy'! We started with it because I thought it would be the easiest and warm us up. The Diablo was pretty easy. None of them, I think judging from previous experience with other Miscanthus, is as hard as moving the M. Morning Light, which next spring is going to be moved to where the Cardinial Candy was.

    This musical shrubs game is exhausting, but the main reason for it is inaccurate info about the size of things--most particularly, the Diablo and the Summer Wine, especially the latter. Five feet is a long way from 10-12, and it was eating up the Abelia and the Mockorange.

  • chescobob

    In their first year, my 2 Summer Wine were puny, flattened by rain, and more like ground cover. I trimmed them to get them growing vertically. This year, they took off reaching for the sky. I gave them another taste of the pruner and they didn't mind it a bit. My larger of the 2 is now about 5 feet around--after the trimming in mid-Summer.

    They are in full sun.

  • prairiemoon2 z6 MA

    I was wondering if anyone on this thread could update how they have done with their Physocarpus 'Summer Wine' ?

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