Sonic Bloom® Red reblooming weigela. Photo: Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc.

For sheer romantic charm, few ornamental plants rival the character and beauty of weigela. This old-fashioned deciduous shrub, which bears profuse clusters of flowers in spring, is virtually carefree, save for a bit of pruning and watering. The tubular-shaped flowers, which come in various hues, are especially attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. With a wide range of foliage colors—from creamy variegation to nearly black—and an array of sizes, there’s a suitable variety for nearly any landscape need.

A member of the honeysuckle family, weigela is native to parts of Asia, and was first imported to Europe in the 1800s. Hardy in many regions of the US, breeding breakthroughs have resulted in newer cultivars with different colors, increased vigor, and compact sizes that are suited for smaller yards.

On this page: The Basics | Planting | Care | Choosing the Right Weigela | Pictures | Landscaping Tips

WEIGELA BASICS

Zones:

4-8, with a few exceptions.

Height/Spread:

Arching, upright, mounding or spreading habit; size varies from 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide, up to 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

Exposure:

Plants will bloom most prolifically in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. Varieties with gold, chartreuse or purple foliage will hold their color better in full sun. Those with variegated foliage can burn with too much afternoon sun in hotter climates.

Bloom time:

Mid-late spring, with sparser rebloom in summer and fall.

Color and characteristic:

These deciduous shrubs produce tubular five-lobed flowers, 1-2 inches long. Flowers come in shades of red, pink, white and yellow. Foliage is 2-6 inches long, sometimes glossy, and oblong-shaped with a slightly serrated edge. Leaves are green, chartreuse, gold, variegated, burgundy or deep purple. Fall color is insignificant.

Toxicity:

Weigela is not considered toxic to pets or children.

PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS

Czechmark Trilogy Weigela

When to plant:

Cooler months during spring or fall are the best time to plant to avoid transplant shock from extreme summer heat.

Where to plant:

Choose a sunny site with moist, well-draining soil. Consider a spot where you can enjoy the blooms from inside and out and watch the hummingbirds dart about.

How to plant:

Dig a hole to the same depth as the root ball and 2-5 times as wide. Break up the soil and mix 15-20% compost into the backfill. If the plant is root bound, tease out the roots or slice the root ball in several places. Set the plant in the hole and cover the root ball with backfill to just below the top of the rootball; avoid covering the top of the rootball or the stem with soil. Water deeply, then mulch with loose organic matter, avoiding the stem. Continue to water regularly until established.

Learn more:

How to plant a shrub

WEIGELA CARE

Pruning and deadheading:

Remove any dead branches in early spring when the shrub is starting to leaf out. Since weigela blooms on the previous year’s growth, any other pruning and shaping should wait until after spring flowering. Prune back to a healthy set of lateral shoots, which will allow for vigorous growth and flower buds for next season. Dwarf varieties need little, if any pruning. Larger mature specimens benefit from the removal of older branches to rejuvenate the plant. In late winter or early spring, trim out no more than one-third of the oldest branches at the base. This can be repeated every few years.

Soil:

Weigela grows best in moderately acidic to slightly alkaline soil, with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. Soil should be moist and well-draining.

Amendments & fertilizer:

Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring around the root zone according to package instructions. Mulch with several inches of organic matter to add nutrients, suppress weeds and conserve water.

Watering:

Once established, weigela need little to no supplemental water, unless the climate is exceptionally hot and dry.

Diseases and pests:

Healthy specimens are virtually free of pests and diseases. Possible insect problems include aphids, spider mites, mealy bugs, or scale. Fungal diseases can include powdery mildew, botrytis, twig blight or leaf spot.

Deer resistance:

Deer will leave weigela alone for the most part, though extreme conditions can result in deer grazing on plants they wouldn’t otherwise.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WEIGELA

With so many sizes and colors to choose from, here are some tips to consider:

For borders and large-scale landscapes:

Choose varieties that will mature to a bigger size and have the most eye-catching foliage and flowers. Mass as hedging, or use in combination with other complementary plants for maximum visual impact.

For containers and small yards:

Dwarf types will stay smaller and not overwhelm a space. They require the least amount of maintenance when it comes to pruning, a bonus for busy lifestyles. Use as edging along borders or pathways, or as foundation plantings near your home.

For bedding displays:

Varieties with a low, spreading habit can be massed in a garden bed or along a slope.

WEIGELA VARIETIES

Swipe to view slides

Photo: Proven Winners® ColorChoice®.

Wine & Roses® (syn. ‘Alexandra’)Buy now from Proven Winners
Weigela florida

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

Medium stature, 4-5 feet tall and wide

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Mid-late spring, some rebloom in summer

Color:

Rose-pink flowers, dark purple leaves

The foliage and flowers of this award-winning variety contrast sharply, making a bold statement in the landscape. Use massed as hedging, or as an individual specimen in a mixed border. Prune to size and shape as needed when spring bloom is completed.

Photo: Proven Winners.

Spilled Wine® (syn. ‘Bokraspiwi’)Buy now from Proven Winners
Weigela florida

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

Low-growing spreading habit, 1-2 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Mid-late spring

Color:

Bright pink flowers, deep purple foliage

Similar in appearance to Wine and Roses®, this variety is ideal for smaller spaces. The deep purple foliage holds its color well throughout the growing season. Use at the edge of a border or walkway, in a container or mass plantings. Lightly prune to shape immediately after spring flowering if necessary.

Photo: Proven Winners.

My Monet® (syn. ‘Verweig’) Buy now from Proven Winners
Weigela florida

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

Dwarf stature, 12-18 inches tall and 18-24 inches wide

Exposure:

Full sun to light shade

Bloom Time:

Mid-late spring

Color:

Pink flowers, variegated foliage with creamy margins and pink undertones

The diminutive size makes this ideal for small spaces. Plant in containers, along borders or pathways, or massed groupings. Variegation is whiter in partial shade and pinker in full sun. Lightly prune to shape immediately after spring flowering if necessary.

Photo: Proven Winners® ColorChoice®.

Sonic Bloom® Pink (syn. ‘Bokrasopin’)Buy now from Proven Winners
Weigela florida

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

Medium stature, 4-5 feet tall and wide

Exposure:

Full sun, though some light shade is beneficial in hotter climates

Bloom Time:

Mid-spring, sparser rebloom through late fall

Color:

Bright magenta-pink flowers, green foliage

This is one of the best reblooming varieties—flowering on both new and old wood—with waves of color from spring until frost. Refrain from pruning for best continuous bloom. If any pruning is necessary to shape or resize, the best time is after the first flush of blooms in spring. Use in a foundation planting or stand-alone specimen in a mixed border.

Photo: Barbara Kalbfleisch / Shutterstock

‘Red Prince’
Weigela florida

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

Medium-large stature with arching branches, 5-6 feet tall and wide

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Mid-late spring, sparse rebloom in late summer

Color:

Lipstick red flowers, green foliage

The larger size of this variety makes a statement in a mixed border, as hedging or a stand-alone accent. The abundant vivid crimson blooms hold their color well as they age. Prune to size and shape as needed when spring bloom is completed.

Photo: Janet Loughrey

‘Rubidor’ (syn. ‘Olympiade’)
Weigela florida

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

Vase-shaped structure, 5-7 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide

Exposure:

Full sun to partial shade

Bloom Time:

Late spring, sparse rebloom in late summer

Color:

Wine-red flowers, chartreuse-gold foliage

This brightly colored selection provides an exciting jolt of color in the landscape. Good for lighting up partial shade areas, though foliage color will be richer in full sun. Prune to size and shape as needed when spring bloom is completed.

Photo: Janet Loughrey

‘Variegata’
Weigela florida

Zones:

5-8

Height/Spread:

Medium stature with arching branches, 4-6 feet tall and wide

Exposure:

Full sun to partial shade

Bloom Time:

Late spring to early summer, sparse rebloom in summer

Color:

Soft pink flowers. New foliage emerges as green edged with creamy white, the margins deepening to soft yellow as the season progresses.

This old-fashioned favorite is good for lighting up partially shaded areas. Grow in a mixed border, or as a stand-alone accent. Plant against a dark green background to make the variegated foliage pop in the landscape. Prune to size and shape as needed when spring bloom is completed.

Photo: Tim Ludwig / Millette Photomedia

‘Dark Horse’
Weigela florida

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

Small stature, 2-3 feet tall and wide

Exposure:

Full sun for best foliage color, will tolerate light shade

Bloom Time:

Mid-late spring

Color:

Pink flowers, deep purple foliage accentuated with lime-green veining

This compact dwarf variety is well-suited to small spaces. Use in a container, or as edging for a border or pathway. Lightly prune to shape if needed immediately after spring flowering.

Photo: Mark Heighes / Shutterstock

‘Minuet’
Weigela florida

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

Smaller stature and spreading habit, 2-3 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Mid-late spring, sparse rebloom in mid-late summer

Color:

Rosy pink flowers, green foliage tinged with purple

Hardier than other dwarf forms, ‘Minuet’ is well suited for containers, hedging or foundation plantings. Flowers are slightly fragrant. Lightly prune to shape if needed immediately after spring flowering.

Photo: Deborah Vernon / Alamy Stock Photo

Tuxedo™ (syn. ‘Velda’)
Weigela hybrid

Zones:

4-8

Height/Spread:

Full sun to partial shade

Exposure:

Full sun

Bloom Time:

Late spring, sparse rebloom in summer

Color:

Ivory flowers, deep purple foliage

The dramatic contrast between the white flowers and nearly black foliage adds a touch of class to the landscape. Foliage is darkest in full sun. Site alongside plants with bright or variegated foliage, or against a lighter backdrop. Prune to size and shape as needed when spring bloom is completed.

WEIGELA LANDSCAPING TIPS

There are many ways to incorporate this easy-care shrub into any landscape. Here’s how:

  • Use gold or variegated forms to brighten up lightly shaded spots.
  • Combine a dwarf specimen with small perennials or conifers in a decorative container by your home’s entryway for a welcoming display.
  • Mass a dwarf variety along a pathway as a low-growing hedge and keep neatly clipped for a formal effect.
  • Plant small to medium-sized varieties along your home’s foundation where they won’t become overgrown and obstruct window views.
  • Mass a low-growing, spreading variety along a slope for a quick-growing groundcover.
  • Create a hedge along your property line with a larger variety that will fill in to create privacy.
  • Plant a variety with exceptional foliage color at the end of a pathway to draw your eye through the landscape.

Combine with other plants that will complement the foliage and flowers. A burgundy-leafed form will stand out when planted next to a ‘Blue Star’ juniper or ‘Golden Charm’ cypress. Plant a gold-leafed weigela next to a blue-flowered hydrangea for a dazzling summer display. Companions such as peonies, delphinium, iris, spirea, and rhododendron will bloom at the same time as weigela for a stunning spring show.

RELATED:
14 Best-Flowering Shrubs
Guide to Growing Shrubs
Planting Ideas

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