How to Grow and Care for Weigela

Brighten up the spring landscape with the beautiful pink blossoms of weigela bush, an easy, old-fashioned favorite that attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Modern varieties offer extra appeal.

Spring Flowering Shrub

Czechmark Trilogy Weigela

Weigela's beautiful, tubular-shaped pink blooms made it a favorite among Victorian gardeners. Modern varieties with varying sizes and leaf color – like 'Czechmark Trilogy' shown here – make it a favorite of gardeners now.

Photo by: Proven Winners at ProvenWinners.com

Proven Winners at ProvenWinners.com

Weigela's beautiful, tubular-shaped pink blooms made it a favorite among Victorian gardeners. Modern varieties with varying sizes and leaf color – like 'Czechmark Trilogy' shown here – make it a favorite of gardeners now.

Spring flowering shrubs can conjure storybook charm in the yard, thanks to their blossom-bedecked branches. Weigela (pronounced why-GEE-luh) is one of those shrubs. In spring, this beauty bursts into bloom with pretty, tubular-shaped flowers in shades of pink. Hummingbirds can't resist the blossoms, so plant weigela if you want to attract these lovely pollinators to your garden. Best of all, weigela is bulletproof — easy to grow and pretty tough.

In summer and fall, the original form of this shrub is rather non-descript with green leaves that don't even share a hint of fall color (they just usually turn brown and drop). But plant breeders have worked overtime with weigela, and their efforts have yielded versions that unfurl burgundy or variegated leaves and flower again from summer to fall. The new weigela selections fall into every size category, from one that's perfect for pots to one that can create a hedge (like Fine Wine weigela).

Botanical Name: Weigela florida
Common Name: Weigela, weigela bush
Plant Type: Deciduous shrub
Mature Plant Size: Up to 8 feet tall and wide
Bloom Time: Spring
Light Needs: Full sun to light shade
Soil Needs: Moist, well-draining
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8

Weigela

Photo by: Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Planting Weigela

Weigela is versatile, growing in both sun and partial shade, although best flowering occurs when you plant your shrub in full sun. There are two exceptions to the full-sun rule. First, in the hottest regions of the country, light afternoon shade helps protect the plant. Second, varieties with variegated leaves tend to burn if they receive full sun in hottest regions. The variegation in My Monet weigela changes color depending on light level, yielding whiter leaves in shade and pinker tones in full sun.

To help your weigela thrive, plant it in moist soil that drains well. Add plenty of compost or composted manure to the planting bed to help enrich soil and improve drainage. Weigela adapts fairly well to any soil, although you'll see strongest growth and flowering on plants in ideal conditions.

Caring for Weigela

In addition to its beautiful flowers, weigela has a no-fuss personality. It's undemanding and carefree in the landscape. Most varieties reward your efforts with a spring bloom time, but some reflower throughout the growing season (like Sonic Bloom).

Water

Newly planted weigela bushes need consistent water until they're established. After that, you probably won't have to water unless it's an unusually dry season.

Fertilizer

Feed an established plant once a year in early spring. Use a slow-release fertilizer designed for trees and shrubs.

Pruning

Dwarf or miniature weigelas typically don't need pruning, except maybe in colder regions where harsh winter weather can lead to dieback. Deal with this by pruning dead wood in late winter and after plants leaf out in spring.

With mature shrubs of larger varieties, remove just a few of the oldest, biggest stems in late winter. This leads to a heavier spring bloom, followed by the shrub producing new shoots, which are the ones that flower. New shoots in one year mean more flowers in future years.

If you need to prune your weigela to shape it or help contain wayward branches (especially on larger varieties), prune after blooming, or you risk reducing the flower show.

Landscaping With Weigela

Weigela may be an old-fashioned favorite, but new varieties make it versatile in a modern yard. There's a weigela for nearly any function in the landscape.

  • Choose a low-growing, spreading variety to act as a groundcover or hold down a slope.
  • To cultivate privacy, plant larger varieties as a hedge.
  • For a small yard, select dwarf types that won't outgrow the space you have.
  • Dwarf weigelas also work well as edging or accent plants (like Midnight Wine)
  • Or use dwarf types with interesting leaf hues to fill pots with season-long color.

By pairing variegated, gold or dark leaf varieties with plants unfurling leaves in opposite colors, you can create eye-pleasing contrast in planting beds. Another way to capitalize on weigela's leaf color is by drafting a bold leaf variety as a focal point. Place it where it commands attention and draws the eye along a path or through a planting bed. Or count on gold or variegated leaf weigela in lightly shaded areas to brighten the scene.

Include weigela in a garden designed for bees, butterflies or hummingbirds, all of which flock to flowers. A taller variety also provides good nesting sites for some bird species.

Choosing a Weigela

The hardest part of growing weigela is choosing which variety to grow. The best way to narrow the field is to think about how you want to use weigela in your landscape and go from there. Here are a few popular weigela varieties:

Czechmark Trilogy — Three flower colors (red, pink, white) on one bush. Size: 36" to 42" tall and wide.

Magical Fantasy — Multiple flower shades (white to rose pink) on the same bush. Variegated leaves are green with white edges. Size: 4 feet tall and wide.

Spring Flowering Shrub

Sonic Bloom Pink Weigela

Sonic Bloom Pink weigela (Weigela florida ‘Bokrasopin’) is a reblooming weigela that delivers a stunning flower show in late spring to early summer, followed by a steady march of blooms until fall frost. The pink flowers are a hummingbird favorite. Plant size is 4' to 5' tall and wide at maturity. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

Photo by: Proven Winners at ProvenWinners.com

Proven Winners at ProvenWinners.com

Sonic Bloom Pink weigela (Weigela florida ‘Bokrasopin’) is a reblooming weigela that delivers a stunning flower show in late spring to early summer, followed by a steady march of blooms until fall frost. The pink flowers are a hummingbird favorite. Plant size is 4' to 5' tall and wide at maturity. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

Sonic Bloom — Bright pink flowers all season long, with strongest bloom in spring. Size: 4' to 5' tall and wide.

Spring Flowering Shrub

Fine Wine Weigela In Bloom

Fine Wine weigela (Weigela florida ‘Bramwell’) blends dark burgundy colored leaves with pretty pink blooms that open in late spring to early summer.

Photo by: Proven Winners at ProvenWinners.com

Proven Winners at ProvenWinners.com

Fine Wine weigela (Weigela florida ‘Bramwell’) blends dark burgundy colored leaves with pretty pink blooms that open in late spring to early summer.

Wine Weigela — The Wine series features burgundy leaves. 'Wine & Roses' grows 4' to 5' tall and wide. 'Fine Wine' reaches 2' to 3' tall and wide. 'Spilled Wine' is 2' to 3' tall and wide. 'Midnight Wine' forms a mound 10" to 12" tall and 18" to 24" wide.

Spring Flowering Shrub

Midnight Wine Weigela

Midnight Wine weigela (Weigela florida 'Elvera') is the smallest weigela of the burgundy leaf varieties.

Photo by: Proven Winners at ProvenWinners.com

Proven Winners at ProvenWinners.com

Midnight Wine weigela (Weigela florida 'Elvera') is the smallest weigela of the burgundy leaf varieties.

Golden Jackpot — Gold leaves deliver color all season long. Pink flowers in spring. Size: 6 feet tall and wide.

Coco Krunch — Ruby red leaves with red flowers all season long. Size: 3 feet tall and wide.

Spring Flowering Shrub

My Monet Weigela

My Monet weigela (Weigela florida ‘Verweig’) is a dwarf variegated weigela that opens pale pink flowers in late spring to early summer. It’s the perfect weigela for tucking into pots or edging the front of a flower border. The tiny size means pruning isn’t necessary. Hardy in Zones 4-6.

Photo by: Proven Winners at ProvenWinners.com

Proven Winners at ProvenWinners.com

My Monet weigela (Weigela florida ‘Verweig’) is a dwarf variegated weigela that opens pale pink flowers in late spring to early summer. It’s the perfect weigela for tucking into pots or edging the front of a flower border. The tiny size means pruning isn’t necessary. Hardy in Zones 4-6.

My Monet — Green and white variegated leaves with pink flowers. Size: 12" to 18" tall and 18" to 24" wide.

Crimson Kisses — Vibrant lipstick-red flowers with white centers appear through the growing season. Size: 3 feet tall and wide.

Snippet Dark Pink — Naturally dwarf shrub that reblooms through the growing season. Size: 1' to 2' tall and wide.

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