Shrubs

Weigela Guide: How to Grow & Care for These Shrubs

Our complete guide to Weigela for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting, growing and caring for Weigela bushes.
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If you have some extra space in your garden or home, Weigela plants should be on your priority list this year! There is something irresistible about these shrubs that’s made them very popular in gardens worldwide. Whether it is their delicate flowers or the attractive colour mixes of their leaves, the truth is everyone falls in love with them!

Now, keep reading to find out more curious facts about these plants and how you can give them the time of their life! By the end of this article, you will probably want to add more than one Weigela to your garden.

Weigela is a genus that contains exactly 12 accepted species of flowering plants. The shrubs from this genus are native to several regions of eastern Asia, such as China, Japan, and Korea. They grow mostly in sunny hills, light woodlands, or mountains at elevations of up to 5906 feet (1800 m) above sea level.

Prized for their showy overall look and low-maintenance nature, Weigela bushes are very popular ornamental plants worldwide. These flowers are wonderful additions for gardens in various landscape decorations like foundation planting or shrub borders. Yet, dwarf Weigela varieties can also make for adorable potted plants indoors.

About Weigela

  • Weigela plants belong to the Caprifoliaceae family that contains hardy shrubs or vines. They share this family with other interesting species, such as Honeysuckles, Snowberries, Valerians, and Pincushion flowers.
  • Most Weigela species are an important food source for the larvae of some Lepidoptera buddies, such as brown-tail moths.
  • The W. florida ‘Alexandra’, W. ‘Florida Variegata’, W. ‘Praecox Variegata’, and W. ‘Red Prince’ cultivars have gained the prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
  • Their lovely flowers are very attractive to several species of pollinators including bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. These plants also serve as shelter for some species of birds.
  • The leaves of some Weigela species and varieties come as a tasty addition in the preparation of teas. Some people consume their young leaves cooked.
  • Weigela plants can make for spectacular companions to many other species of plants. The most common are Aquilegia ‘Ruby Port’, Catmint, Globe Thistle, Ornamental Onion, Purple Japanese Barberry, Russian Sage, Shasta Daisy, and Siberian Iris.
  • These shrubs have no toxic effects on pets or children if touched or ingested. You can grow them safely around your curious beloved ones in both indoor and outdoor settings.
Weigela Bush
Weigela Bush

Weigela Features: An Overview

  • Depending on the species, Weigela bushes can reach from 12 inches to 16.4 feet (30 cm to 5 m) in height and 18 inches to 12 feet (46 cm to 3.6 m) in width.
  • These plants have an upright, arching, spreading, or mounding overall growth habit. They are deciduous shrubs that shed their leaves and blossoms seasonally, usually in late fall or early winter.
  • Their foliage consists of 2 to 6 inches (5-15 cm) long, sometimes shiny, and oblong-shaped to narrowly ovate leaves that have slightly serrated margins. The leaves come in various colours like green, burgundy, gold, chartreuse, deep purple, or variegated.
  • In general, Weigela plants bloom from mid through late spring. However, they come back with another round of flowering in summer and autumn but with fewer blooms.
  • During their blooming period, these bushes produce small corymb inflorescences that bear several 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) long, tubular, and five-lobed flowers. They exhibit numerous shades of pink, white, yellow, and red.
  • In late fall, the blossoms of Weigela shrubs will make room for some fruits to show up. They are dry capsules that contain many tiny and winged seeds, used very often as propagation material.

Growing Weigela

Like most species of shrubs, our Weigela friends perform best in lots of bright and direct light. Outdoors, make sure you are growing these bushes in a location where they can receive at least eight hours of full sunlight daily. In indoor settings, you should place your dwarf Weigela in the brightest spot you can find, such as a south-facing window. If you live in a region with hot summers, your plants will appreciate some dappled light or afternoon shade.

When it comes to temperature and humidity, these plants are pretty easy-going and will tolerate a wide range of conditions. Weigela shrubs are hardy in 4 to 8 USDA zones and do not require special temperature values to grow healthy and happy.

Although Weigela plants are usually pest-free, some intruders like aphids, scale insects, or spider mites can bother them once in a while. These pests will show their presence through white, cotton-like spots on the foliage or tiny holes in the leaves. If you notice any of these signs, handpick the pests if possible or spray your plants with water to remove them. After this process, you must apply a suitable treatment right away, such as a horticultural oil (neem oil) or a natural insecticide.

Planting Weigela

The ideal time to plant your Weigela bushes is during the cooler months of spring or autumn. In these conditions, you can avoid shocking your buddies with the extreme summer heat. Moreover, these plants need plenty of room to grow, especially if you are the happy owner of taller varieties. Make sure you are planting them in a roomy spot to allow their roots and foliage to develop properly.

Weigela plants can grow in various types of soils, but they will show the best results in mildly acidic or alkaline substrates. These shrubs thrive in slightly moist conditions but will need well-draining soil to help the excess water to drain away. If you want to grow your plants indoors, plant them in containers that come with drainage holes at the bottom.

Spilled Wine Weigela Live Shrub, From Amazon

These shrubbies will demand regular fertilizing to keep them in shape, usually right before new growth emerges. Feed your beloved Weigela plants with a balanced liquid fertilizer once every year in spring.

Many gardeners love Weigela shrubs in their natural form, so they decide to skip pruning for good. However, some cultivars can spread like crazy and can get out of control sometimes. If you want to maintain a certain size or shape for your companions, prune them right after their blooming period has ended. You can also pinch off all spent blossoms to make room for new ones to flourish.

Watering Weigela

Most gardeners fall in love with Weigela shrubs not only for their stunning appearance but also due to their high tolerance of drought. These bushes can do just fine without supplemental irrigation for long periods, making them nice start-ups for beginners. Still, this particular feature works only for specimens that have settled in their new environment.

Young Weigela plants will need a little extra effort on your part during their first growing season. After planting, you must provide your babies with consistent deep watering to help them accommodate. But, once established, it will be very rare for these shrubs to ask for your attention. In general, their demands will vary depending on the setting and weather.

If you are growing Weigela bushes in the garden, they will thrive only with little amounts of water acquired from periodic rainfalls. Indoors, water your flowers only when their soil has dried out completely to avoid soggy conditions or waterlogging. During hot and dry summer months we recommend watering your plants more frequently than usual.

 Propagating Weigela

Weigela bushes are great plants to spend your time with, so having more of these beauties will bring you nothing but joy! And what makes an experience even more pleasant and rewarding? Well, everything is better when you share it with your family members or friends. Whether you want to propagate Weigela plants for your benefit or your beloved ones, the best way to do it is through softwood cuttings in June.

First things first, look for healthy newborn stems and cut about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) off them with a sharp, sterilized knife. From each stem cutting, you will have to pinch off all leaves except for the top set of two or three. If you want faster results, make sure you dip the de-leafed sections of your Weigela cuttings into a rooting hormone.

Flowering Weigela Bristol Ruby
Flowering Weigela Bristol Ruby

For the next step, fill a container or bed with a fresh growing medium that has excellent drainage. Most gardeners prefer to use a combination of half soilless potting mix and half perlite for optimal growth. Plant the Weigela cuttings into the substrate, place them in a shady spot, and provide them with water regularly to maintain the soil constantly damp.

With proper care, your tiny Weigela plants should develop a healthy root system after several weeks. If you give the cuttings a little tug and feel some resistance, this is a good sign of root development. When the cuttings start to show up some leaves, you can transplant your new baby plants into their permanent location. However, you must wait for the last danger of frost to pass before transplanting, usually in early spring.

In Conclusion

It is safe to say that Weigela bushes are a dream come true for absolutely any gardener out there! These plants can thrive in a wide range of environmental conditions with minimal effort on the gardener’s part. Moreover, the hypnotic colour mixes between their foliage and flowers are one of a kind, so you will certainly fall in love with them! Which Weigela cultivar will be your next lifetime companion? Let us know in the comments below!

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Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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