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Pruning Weigela - How to prune Weigela: Advice and Information

Pruning Weigela

Red Rose Weigela

Once you get the pronunciation of the word right, growing Weigela is a relatively straightforward matter, for it is a shrub that requires little care and attention. The little bit of care that a Weigela plant needs will be rewarded handsomely with a display of flowers for much of the summer.

Weigela is one of the old favorites of garden shrubs and has remained popular to this day. Many writers shun it, simply because most that can be written about Weigela has already been written. But no serious gardening section about shrubs or flowering plants can ignore it. Weigela is here to stay and has already seen off a host of new arrivals.

Late Spring and early Summer are the main flowering times, but Weigelas will rarely be without a few flowers right through the summer.

Pruning Weigela is necessary if you want to keep the shrub in good condition with plenty of good sized flowers and healthy fresh foliage.

Weigelas are of East Asian origin, with their favourite habitat being at the edge of woodlands and scrub areas – rarely being found within the shade of woodland itself. They form mounded or upright growing deciduous shrubs, varying in height according to variety, but most are happy to grow to 8ft 2.4m over ten years with a similar spread.

How and when to prune your Weigela - Weigella - Weigelia!

Weigela should be pruned immediately after flowering in early summer. As with many shrubs that flower at this time of year, they produce flowers on wood made in the previous season (year). If you prune your Weigela late in the year, then it will not have time in to grow mature wood for flowering next summer. If you prune your Weigela early in the year (before it flowers) then you will be cutting off the flower buds that developed last year, and there will be no flowers on it until the following year.

As soon as your Weigela has finished flowering, prune out all of the flowered stems by about one third of their length. This pruning will then prompt the Weigela to produce fine new shoots which will mature through the summer and produce plenty of flower buds for the next year.

A flowering branch of a deep pink Weigela

At this time, it is also a good idea to carry out some regeneration pruning. This is done by pruning back hard, around one in every three main stems - right down to near ground level. New shoots will soon develop and grow to normal size - providing a good framework of healthy stems for future years. In subsequent years, again prune out around a third of all the older stems.

This pruning regime will apply to all of the popular varieties of Weigela including Weigela Abel Carriére. W. Bristol Ruby and Bristol Snowflake, Weigela Eva Rathke, W. florida types Foliis Purpureis (purpurea) W. florida Variegata, W. Looymansii Aurea, and all the other weigelas that flower early - Mid summer.

  • The Weigela florida Foliis Purpureis and Variegata respond very well to really hard pruning after flowering. With the W. f. Weigella, I normally cut it down to ground level as soon as flowering has ceased, and am quite happy to see the bright variegated foliage at the expense of the flowers. Nonetheless, there are always a few towards the end of the year. Without hard pruning, the good foliage effect of both varieties ios lost to a certain extent.
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Where to Grow Weigela

A full sun position is ideal to bring out the best of flower power, but a little shade – dappled – will do no harm as long as the stems get back by the sun at some part of the day.

Weigela shrub is best suited to growing in the open ground rather than in a container – though they can be grown in a large patio pot for a few years before planting in the garden. It seems to grow well in any soil type – I have grown it in both lime and acidic soils. Light or heavy soils, but free draining.

Shrub border – at the rear – is its best situation, though it can also look quite grand when grown as a well tended lawn bed specimen. This is particularly so of the coloured leaf varieties.

Whilst they generally have a lax, upright habit of growth, Weigelas are generally clothed with foliage from drooping branches right down to ground level.

Types of Weigela Shubs

Red Flowered Weigela

  • Weigela ‘Bristol Ruby’ is one of the oldest varieties that never fails to please.
  • Weigela ‘Eva Rathke’ is similar, but with a slightly more compact habit.

Pink Flowered Weigela

  • Weigela ‘Abel Carriere’ has been around a long time – deservedly so. It is a dark pink – rather than the red it is sometimes described as being.
  • Weigela florida is dark pink flowered plant having an arching habit so also good ground cover. The flowers fade to pale pink over time. It has two coloured leaved varieties mentioned below, which are always favourites.

Foliage Colour Weigela

  • Weigela florida “Foliis Purpureis’ has dark bronze leaves which act as good contrast to the bright pink flowers. Slightly less in height to the others above, with 1.5m height and spread being its aim.
  • Weigela florida ‘Variegata- is sometimes sold as ‘Nana’. It has pale green leaves with attractive creamy yellow markings at edges. Surprisingly, the pink flowers look good against the foliage colour.
  • Weigela ‘Loomansii Aurea has bright yellow foliage with pink, but white throated flowers. It is one of the slowest growers and has arching lax habit. This Weigela grows best with a little dappled shade.

Propagation of Weigela Plants

Very easy to take from cuttings, with semi-ripe tip cuttings in September being easiest method. Just leave them to overwinter after rooting and pot up in spring.

Problems with Weigela

  • It is fully hardy and rarely attacked by any visible pests. Sometimes troubled by leaf eelworm.
  • The browning of leaves that sometimes occur are normally associated with sun or wind scorch, but does no permanent harm.
  • Care should be taken in areas prone to honey fungus, where it can fail.

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