Bladeglass - Varieties 'Diabolo' - Care + Cutting

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bubble pier diabolo 4

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo' is a very special type of bubble pear with dark red, rough leaves that are reminiscent of raspberry leaves in shape. The shrub is quite insensitive to air pollution and is therefore often used in urban areas and on busy roads. As a beautiful contrast to the almost black leaves, which retain their dark color from spring to late summer, the bubble-prick 'Diabolo' from June flowers umbels from countless small white flowers. In autumn, their leaves then turn a strong orange before the plant throws off its foliage and goes into hibernation.

Short profile

  • botanical name: Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo'
  • Special variety of the snowball-leaved bubble pear
  • Other names: Devil's Shrub, Red Pheasant's Parrot, Red-leaved Bladder's Pear
  • belongs to the family of the rose family
  • Taut upright growing bush
  • Growth height: 2 to 2.5 meters
  • Foliage: very dark red, almost black leaves
  • orange red in the fall
  • Flower: arranged in umbellate, small white to pale rose flowers
  • Flowering period: June to July
  • Fruits: bright red follicles (bubble shape)
  • Leaf jewelry shrub, flowering shrub
Physocarpus opulifolius, also called Schneeballbl├Ąttrige Blasenspiere, originally comes from eastern North America. In general, the upright-growing shrubs, which grow up to three meters high in their home, have green foliage. In our case, the bubble-canis is occasionally found in a very special variety as an ornamental plant or hedge plant in gardens: as a red-leaved shrub called 'Diabolo'. Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo' is also known as Devil's Shrub, Red Pheasant's Parrot or Red-leaved Bladderwhips.


Flowering of the bubble pear

The red-leaved bladder-pier is one of the pleasantly undemanding gardeners, because it thrives on almost all garden soils, both in a sunny and in a partially shaded spot. One thing to note, however, is the location: the sunnier Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo' stands, the more intense the red leaves are. With the shrub, wonderful accents can be set in the garden, because in front of a white house wall or in combination with light-leaved neighboring plants, this bubble passerby is particularly effective. The plant is also good for large containers on the terrace or balcony, as it grows mainly tight in height and therefore requires little space.
  • Light requirement: sunny to partially shaded
  • Soil: permeable, humic, nutritious
  • thrives on almost all garden floors
  • pH: both acidic and alkaline soils
tip: A beautiful contrast to the dark red leaves of the red-leaved Blarsenspiere the maple flamingo (Acer negundo Flamingo), the white-colored dogwood (Cornus alba Sibirica Variegata), a gold-wigs shrub (Cotinus coggygria Golden Spirit) or the wintergreen oil pasture (Elaeagnus ebbingei Gilt Edge ) with its yellow or variegated foliage.


As long as the ground is not frozen, the Diabolo bubble pier can be planted year-round. The best time to plant is spring or fall. For very sandy and lean soils, it is advisable to work in advance compost or humus containing potting soil. If the garden floor is prone to waterlogging, a drainage of gravel or sand is necessary, as the red pheasant's pole prefers well-drained soils. In addition, the planting hole should be dug a little more generously and mixed with the humus soil sand or grit, so that the water can seep better.
  • Time: spring or autumn
  • Container plants all year round (except for frosts)
  • Planting hole: double bale size
  • Water the root ball thoroughly
  • Remove pot and loosen bales
  • Place at ground level in the planting hole
  • fill with humus soil
  • easy to compete
  • water once more
tip: The advantages of an autumn plantation are that the bladder sentry can form roots before the winter and, due to the higher rainfall, must be watered less frequently. In the spring, these plants can then drive out better.

to water

The red-leaved Blasenspiere requires additional irrigation water only in case of prolonged drought. Free-range plants are somewhat less susceptible to dryness than potted plants, as they have only a limited supply of soil available. In warm or windy weather, the root ball of the plant in the bucket should therefore be checked more frequently. If the surface is already very dry, it must be watered. It is always important to ensure that excess water can run well, because waterlogging tolerates the otherwise so robust shrub not very good.



On a nutrient-rich soil, the bladder pier rarely needs to be fertilized.The grander and more permeable the garden soil is, the more often an additional supply of nutrients is necessary. For most outdoor plants, it is sufficient to incorporate some mature compost in the garden soil in the spring. On barren soils or in potted plants, it has proven useful to administer liquid fertilizer via the irrigation water every 14 days. Alternatively, of course, long-term fertilizers such as horn meal, horn shavings or fertilizer sticks can be used. Fertilization takes place exclusively in the growth phase, ie between April and August. Later fertilizer inputs prevent the young shoots from lignifying. So the shrub is prone to frost damage.

To cut

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo' belongs to the vigorous shrubs that grow up to 25 cm in height each year. However, since the Blasenspiere is very cut compatible, it does not pose a problem to shorten it if necessary. However, when cutting the wood, there are a few rules to follow, because a faulty cut deface the shrubs forever. The optimal time for the shrub is very controversial even among experts. In principle, the devil bush can be cut around the year. Since the shrub forms its flowers on the previous year's wood, the next bloom remains, if the pruning of shoot tips in spring, autumn and winter takes place. That's why many gardeners swear by a cut of the diabolo's bubble-tail right after flowering. For cutting in the winter speaks that the shrub is better to see without leaves. In the summer, the cuts heal faster.

plant section

Since it takes a few weeks for the roots of the diabolo bubble insects to become anchored in the soil, it can cause the plant to suffer from lack of water in hot weather. Planting is therefore always necessary when the weather conditions are very sunny and warm. In these cases, the Devil's Shrub evaporates more water over the leaves than it can absorb via the roots. If the shrubs die immediately after planting, dryness is the cause in most cases. Since extensive watering does not help here - after all, the roots do not yet have any contact with the rest of the soil - the evaporation from the leaves must be restricted. The easiest way to do this is to cut out about one-third of the leafy branches.
Tip: For plantings in the fall no plant cut is necessary.

1. Auslichtungsschnitt

In a Auslichtungsschnitt to dense shoots are taken out. This promotes the ventilation of the wood and the growth of young shoots. The Red-leaved Bladderweas remains flowering and maintains its specific shape.
  • Time: late winter or early spring
  • only at intervals of two to three years necessary
  • cutting some old, strongly branched, already overhanging shoots near the ground
  • leave a stub of a maximum of 5 cm
  • fresh shoots, which branch only a little, shorten to 2/3
  • never shorten the shoot tips on the bush for several years
  • then the branches branch out excessively and the typical shape is lost
  • In addition, the shrub from below blunts and forms fewer flowers
  • If a strong young shoot has been formed on an old branch, it can be cut above the young shoot
tipAt least once a year, sick or dead wood should be removed from the Devil's Shrub to keep the plant healthy and vital.

2. Radical pruning (rejuvenation cut)

If the Red-leaved Bladderwings have not been circumcised for years or are incorrectly trimmed, they can be restored to shape with a radical rejuvenation cut. In this pruning the entire crown is greatly reduced. In this way, the sleeping eyes are activated at the base of the branches and the shrub again drives out again.
  • cut all branches down to 30-50 cm above ground level
  • always cut short over one eye
  • cut very old branches near the ground
  • remove thin, unbranched shoots
  • leave only the strongest branches
In the next few years, the red pheasant's foot is then slowly rebuilt. This requires an occasional re-cut to encourage branching. If this measure seems too radical, this can be spread over three years. One-third of the branches are then reduced to 30 cm above ground level every year. The cuts should be evenly distributed over the shrub. In this way, a large part of the original shape and height of the devil shrub is preserved, at the same time it is rebuilt from below. In the second year again one third of the branches will be cut. However, only those that were not already curtailed in the previous year. In the third year, the pruning of the last third of the branches takes place. Now the Blasenspier is completely rejuvenated.


Bladeglass leaves

Flowering shrubs such as the bubble-prickly 'Diabolo' can be easily multiplied by cuttings. All you have to do is cut off a healthy and strong shoot and put it in soil.
You need the following items for propagation:
  • small plastic flowerpots with vent hole (diameter 6-9 cm)
  • transparent plastic bag
  • nutrient-poor potting soil (cactus soil or potting soil)
  • several cuttings
From a year-old shoot (unripe), in which only leaves but no flowers are, in the early summer, about 10 to 15 cm long piece (tip) is cut off. The lower leaves are removed so they will not rot later in the soil. The potting soil is filled into a flower pot and lightly poured. After the bark of the lower 2 cm of the cuttings has been slightly scraped off with the knife, it can be inserted into the moist soil. It should be noted that the bottom sheet pair has no contact with the substrate. The flowerpot is now placed either in a miniature greenhouse or put on a transparent plastic bag, in order to regulate the water balance. For the next three weeks, the cuttings need a bright, but sheltered from the direct sun space in the apartment. Alternatively, the cuttings can also rooted in a partially shaded, warm spot in the field. The first signs of new shoots or leaves are noticeable, this is a sign that roots have formed in the earth. Evaporation protection can now be removed. In the first year, the cuttings should not hibernate outdoors, but be brought cool, but frost-free through the cold season. Next spring it will be time (from May) to plant the young plant.


The devil shrub is perfectly adapted to our climatic conditions and survives in the field even the lowest temperatures. Even in the coldest locations, he needs no winter protection. As the root ball easily freezes on potted plants, they should be brought to a sheltered location and the pot placed on a polystyrene plate or "feet". In addition, a thick fleece, which is wrapped around the bucket, helps against freezing. Since the red-leaved Blasenspiere enters a resting phase in winter, it must not be kept warm during the winter.
Diseases and pests
Although Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo' is not entirely immune to diseases or pests, these are only extremely rare in the robust shrub.
With its dark red foliage and whitish flowers, the Diasholo bubble-bell is one of the most contrasting flowering shrubs in our gardens. It is wonderfully socialized with other flowering or Blattschmuckstauden and woody plants that wear light green or white variegated foliage. The red-leaved Blasenspiere is very undemanding and easy-care, little susceptible to disease and good frost hardy, so it is suitable for almost every garden and even beginners.

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