Q: My ninebark shrub is not doing well. When planted it was beautiful and really cool looking. It is supposed to be native to Georgia. Now it seems to be dying/struggling. Any advice?
A: Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius, is indeed a native plant in Georgia and can thrive in the right spot. When I did a television show in Cincinnati, we used ‘Diabolo’ ninebark frequently. The deep purple leaf color made it a great background for flowering plants. The shrub itself has pretty clusters of small pink flowers in spring.
However, it seems to suffer here in full sunshine. Perhaps it would be better suited to the cooler northern parts of the state. That said, I have a ‘Little Devil’ dwarf ninebark which is doing fine in the shade of a small tree.
Consider moving your shrub to a shadier spot where it won’t suffer from dry soil.