'Little Angel' Physocarpus
Plants can evoke so many senses for us; from sound of rustling foliage to air-borne fragrances to textured touch.. However, ‘Little Angel’ Physocarpus goes one better, it will seduce you! The foliage colours of this incredible plant can only be described as ‘SEXY’, evoking thoughts of dark satin sheets, red PVC and other ‘unprintables’! The leaves constantly change colour too, with a procession of saucy shades!
Is this the sexiest foliage plant ever?
Foliage plants can be extremely useful in the garden, after all not every plant has to have big blousy flowers playing the lead role, we need plants to play ‘supporting roles’ too. Physocarpus is the perfect supporting cast member, with oak-leaf shaped foliage on round plants. The plants do produce flowers, but they almost aren’t needed, so impactful is that sexy foliage!

Not just a foliage plant

For years, most customers overlooked plants with decorative foliage, as they ‘wanted more’. But, this saucy seductress ‘Little Angel’ gives us the best of both worlds. The flowers aren’t an oversight either, they are produced once each summer and has a lovely raspberry blush to them. Autumn brings bright berries too, as the plant just keeps on showing off!
Is this the sexiest foliage plant ever?

How was this plant created?

Physocarpus weren’t hugely popular plants in times gone by, in fact they weren’t even that well known. However, the worldwide market now demands interesting-coloured shrubs, with that colour coming as much from the foliage as the flowers. We actually have our American friends to thank for the renewed interest in coloured-leaf plants! Every year, they fill their yards with extended interest plants with purple, pink and red foliage, with gold being a real favourite too!
Selected by breeding company, Schuch, ‘Little Angel’ stood out because of it’s evolving, coloured foliage, but also because of it’s habit. Rather than the messy, over-sized amenity shrubs that Physocarpus were once seen as, ‘Little Angel’ has a rounded shape, suiting any size of garden, or indeed patio container!
Is this the sexiest foliage plant ever?

What’s different about this plant?

Better shaped than most Physocarpus and selected for richer colours, ‘Little Angel’ is extremely worthy of note. The procession of colour begins as soon as the spring foliage bursts open, at that moment it is rich golden! Next, it changes through from ruby red to purple, with every shade in between… The leaves finally turn fiery shades in the autumn, before falling from the plant, leaving a solid winter structure. Don’t forget the bonus of autumn berries that the birds love too!
Where can you plant Physocarpus ‘Little Angel’?
With the achingly contemporary, modern look, you can really have some fun placing your Physocarpus plants! A shrubby plant, Physocarpus are very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of different soils and conditions, from sun to shade. The best colours, including a ferrari red leaf colour stage, can be achieved in a sunny spot though. Create a real spectacle by planting alongside other colourful foliage shrubs, such as Berberis, Choisya and Euonymus, mix up golds, purples and reds! It’ll be like ‘garden graffiti’!
‘Little Angel’ is an excellent choice for adding shape and structure to a mixed border, or as a standalone in a patio container. Once established, plants prove very drought tolerant too, and will be visited regularly by bees, butterflies and birds, who enjoy the sweet sweet nectar from those ruby-kissed blooms!
Is this the sexiest foliage plant ever?
Where can you buy this plant?
Plants are available in garden centres across Europe, or by mail order from here.
How to grow Physocarpus ‘Little Angel’:
Flowering time: June to July
Location: Borders, patio pots
Soil: Any well-drained soil, drought tolerant when established
Light: Sun or part shade
Hardy: Survives down to -15C! Plant will come back every year.
Care: Prune in early spring, just to keep shape and tidy up!
Size: 90cm (36”) high x 90cm (36”) in spread
Is this the sexiest foliage plant ever?
Plant of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe
(with Concept Plants doing the same job in North America).
Physocarpus ‘Little Angel’ was selected by Schuch.

It can actually be quite easy to spot new plants, as nature often does the breeding work for you! Natural variation is referred to as a ‘sport’, or you may find a new hybrid has appeared in your garden by itself. To hunt down these new plants, it’s all about noticing differences. Make sure you take time out to get to know the plants in your garden, and if any seem different to the norm, let me know!

See every Plant of the Month here.
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  • VALERIE Mahnic

    I agree this new ninebark has gorgeous foliage! I live in Ontario Zone 5 out in the country where I grow the many different varieties of ninebark and Little Angel is thriving beautifully even in minus 22 degrees Celsius with wind chill. Best plant ever for country properties!

    October 13, 2020

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