Caring for spring flowering shrubs like weigela require preparation and practice. Location choice, pruning, and occasional fertilizer application are all important tasks to ensure the beautiful, trumpet like blooms and lovely foliage of your weigela will continue to delight season after season.
Choose a planting location for your weigela that will provide well drained soil and daily full sun. Soil should be kept moist but not soggy. Weigela florida, or old-fashioned weigela, is an excellent choice for areas with low water or drought tendencies.
Throughout the season, remove leaf litter, broken branches, and other dead foliage from under the weigela and discard. When preparing your garden for the winter months, use a rake to completely remove any dead material from under the weigela and dispose of it. Dead plant material may harbor disease or bacteria that can survive in the material over winter, infecting your weigela the following growing season. For this reason, never dispose of suspicious dead foliage in your compost bin, which can spread spores through water and wind to other herbaceous plants in your garden.
Pruning is the single most important job to undertake in caring for weigela. Flowering on last year's growth, the weigela must be pruned immediately after flowering in the spring. If your shrub shows signs of disease, disinfect your pruning shears in between each cut using a 10% bleach solution to reduce risk of spreading the illness. Use the renewal pruning method, which consists of eliminating up to one-third of the old wood growth first, to encourage new growth of young stems. Dead wood can be pruned back any time, and should be removed regularly to prevent the new growth from becoming tangled with it.
Spring flowering shrubs like weigela do not require fertilizer as a general rule. Often, over doing fertilizer will interfere with flower production in these spring bloomers. The weigela prefers a soil pH ranging from 3.6-7, and a local University Extension office or garden center will provide specific amendments for adjusting soil pH properly. Soil tests can determine if there is a mineral deficiency, although typically weigela suffers only from lack of nitrogen if at all. Fertilize with nitrogen according to manufacturer instructions for best results.