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How to Care for Weigela in the Winter

Frost on leaves image by Rod Jackson from

Weigela is a flowering perennial shrub that is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8. It is prized for its spring and summer flowers, whose fragrance resembles that of honeysuckle. Commonly planted as hedges, foundation plantings or in beds and borders, weigela is low-maintenance and thrives in sunny sites and moist soil. Preparation for winter will help ensure that the plant emerges in the spring healthy and with minimal damage.

Water your weigela shrub deeply several times in the fall well before the first hard frost to support the roots to withstand winter drought conditions. Water a few times during winter if conditions are dry. Water only on a sunny day, in the mid-morning, when the surface of the soil is warmed. Resume a regular irrigation schedule in the spring after the last hard frost.

Mulch around the base of your weigela with an organic material laid down in at least a 3-inch-thick blanket. Use pine straw, leaf mold or shredded bark to insulate the roots from cold and drought. Reapply a fresh layer each year in the fall as winter approaches.

Prune back any branches that did not make it through the winter, in the spring, after the last hard frost has passed. Cut down to a point of healthy wood or down to the crown of the plant. Use loppers for small-diameter branches and a pruning saw for larger branches.

Pull all of the loose cuttings from the canopy and collect any debris that has accumulated on the soil below, to prevent the disease and insect prone conditions that rotting plant tissues provide. Burn, chip, compost or otherwise discard the cuttings as you prefer.

Care For Weigela In The Winter

If you're growing a weigela (Weigela spp.) Whatever type of weigela you grow, it's a good idea to give it a bit of extra care as winter approaches and at winters end to help keep it flourishing. These cycles can heave roots out of the ground and damage them. Because a weigela has no leaves in winter, its stems are susceptible to a problem called sun scald, which happens when sun heats up the bark on bright but cold days, stimulating activity in the stem that can be followed by tissue damage when the sun goes down and the stem is chilled. This is especially likely in a young or recently transplanted shrub, or in one planted where its south-facing side is unprotected. Although weigela is a hardy plant, it's prone to winter dieback, especially in areas with harsh winters. Double-check stems that look dead by scratching the bark with a fingernail. You can also remove any broken or damaged branches at the end of winter, but a weigela has its heaviest flowering in spring on the previous season's growth, so it's best you don't prune heavily in winter to preserve flower buds.

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