How to Care for Weigela in the Winter
Weigela is a useful, low-maintenance, flowering shrub, but that doesn’t mean it requires no care. Seasonal cleanup, winter pruning and attention to watering, especially for container-grown plants, are important to ensure that your weigela (Weigela florida, USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8) pulls its weight as a foundation planting in the landscape.
As a deciduous shrub, weigela, which is typically 6 to 10 feet tall and just as wide, loses its leaves in winter, offering a pleasant architectural frame in the winter garden. Left unpruned, the branches develop a graceful, arching shape, although renewal pruning is sometimes necessary if it becomes overgrown or the branches are so numerous that air cannot circulate.
Weigela prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade, although it won’t bloom as profusely.
In winter, all landscape shrubs and trees can benefit from winter cleanup, and weigela is no exception. After its leaves fall and the shrub is bare, rake away the debris to avoid giving overwintering insects and disease a welcome mat during the winter months.
Mulch with a 4–6 inch layer of pine bark mulch or pine straw, but avoid allowing the mulch to touch the trunk, as this can invite rot.
Winter Pruning and Mulching
Weigelas bloom in late spring or early summer on old wood from the previous year; then, they frequently bloom again throughout the growing season on new growth produced during the current season. For this reason, pruning weigela must be well timed so that you don’t prune off flower buds before you have a chance to enjoy them.
One potential issue with weigelas is possible winter dieback and injury, especially when winter conditions are harsh. Inspect your weigela and remove dead wood in late winter or early spring before new growth appears. Injured or dead wood can make the entire plant more prone to insects and disease. Prune back to a healthy, leafy branch.
On mature plants, remove some of the oldest, largest stems. This encourages the plant to produce new flowering shoots.
Because weigela is prone to winter dieback, annual winter or early spring pruning is a necessary maintenance task.
While your area may get enough rain to ensure proper irrigation for your weigela, it will likely require watering if it is grown in a container.
For container-grown plants, ensure proper drainage through the pot’s drainage holes. These holes can become plugged over time, so perform a visual inspection after winter rains and make sure the container is not standing in water.
I garden in the Pacific North west, previously Hawaii where I had an avocado orchard. I have a Master Gardeners certificate here in Eugene, Oregon.