Weigela are deciduous, flowering shrubs. Native to Korea and Japan, they come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Weigela bloom in the spring with masses of small flowers, after which they become rather unremarkable, as the shrubs do not feature colorful fall foliage. Some cultivars do have variegated leaves, making them more interesting as summer ornamentals, according to the University of Illinois website.
Foliage and Leaves
Weigela have either deep purple or green foliage. The foliage can be variegated or solid. The leaf arrangement features alternating leaves on either side of the stem, and the leaves have a fine, serrated edge. The flowers are around an inch long and can be funnel or bell-shaped. Most are pink or red in color. Canida has white blooms, and Canary has yellow buds that fade to pink flowers.
Shape and Size
Weigela shrubs grow to a maximum height of 9 feet and width of 12 feet, depending on the cultivar. Some are as small as only 2 or 3 feet tall. Most have long, arching branches that droop gracefully to the ground, creating a mounded or rounded shape.
The optimum growing climate for Weigela is a cooler, temperate zone. In general, these plants are cold-hardy to United States Department of Agriculture growing zone 5, according to the University of Connecticut website, and heat-hardy to USDA zone 8. Some cultivars are cold-hardy to USDA zone 3, such as Polka, a pink-flowering cultivar.
Weigela are described as easy-to-grow plants by North Dakota State University's website. According to the university, they tolerate heavy pruning, which means you can maintain them at the size you prefer. Prune them after they flower for best results. Weigela also are adaptable to many soils, although they grow best in well-drained soil. The shrubs prefer locations where they are exposed to a full day of sunlight.
Weigela are described as hardy shrubs, but they can suffer from some problems. According to the University of Connecticut, these plants sometimes experience winter dieback, which means they die back to the ground. The cause of this is unusually cold winter weather. Prune away the dead branches in late winter and wait for the plant to bloom again in the spring. Standing water can cause root rot, a fungal disease that destroys the roots of the plant. Make sure the area around your weigela is not prone to flooding or collecting standing water.