Weigela is a colorful shrub that requires very little care and attention. The flowers last from May to July and varieties with variegated leaves can add color to a garden for most of the year.
Weigela likes well drained soil and lots of direct sunlight. The shrubs can grow quite large, so plant them far enough apart to allow a full spread. There are several different varieties of weigela, including dwarf varieties, so they can be used in different areas of the garden.
Make sure you water your newly planted weigela every day. The shrub can cope with dry periods very well and can even handle flooding for short periods.
After the short flowering season in July, prune back your weigela. To encourage new flowers next year, cut back new growth by two thirds. The flowers for next year will grow on the old wood, so cutting back the new shoots encourages them to develop and increase the flower bearing stems. With correct pruning, the flower bearing branches will grow rapidly and the weight of the flowers will bend the branches so that they display the bell like flowers to their best advantage.
To encourage the development of larger and more numerous flowers, you can cut the growing tip of the flower bearing stems in May. This can also help to maintain the shape of the shrub.
The Natural Shrub
Weigela will thrive if left to develop its own shape. The natural loss of stems in harsh winters keeps the un-pruned weigela in shape.
Use mulch around the base of the weigela to keep the soil warm and damp. The mulch will also help prevent the growth of weeds. Wood chips with grass clippings mixed in makes the best mulch.
Weigela manages quite well in poor soil, but it helps if you introduce fertilizer or compost after the second year, unless you notice that the plant is not prospering as it should. Although a slow release commercial fertilizer is often recommended for weigela, they thrive in soil that has had a level of humus or garden compost worked into it.
It is easy to grow weigela from cuttings. Using a rooting hormone, it is possible to cut a new branch off a healthy shrub and have it take root within four to six weeks. The cuttings will root just as well in the garden as they will in pots in a green house.
Weigela can suffer significant shoot loss in a hard winter. To protect the roots and to prepare the soil for the next year’s growth, cover the root stock with a top dressing of good garden compost.
Weigela is a shrub that can add enormously to the pleasure of your garden because the shrub is attractive to both butterflies and humming birds. By planting them alongside similarly attractive plants, you can help to maintain the humming birds that are attracted to your garden.