The deep purple leaves and rosy blooms that inspired Wine & Roses weigela's (Weigela florida 'Alexandra') name reach their full, show-stopping potential with proper pruning, as needed. If general shaping is due, prune Wine & Roses immediately after it finishes flowering in late spring to early summer.
Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8, Wine & Roses blooms on what's known as old wood. In other words, its main flush of of flower comes from buds that developed on stems during the previous year's summer and fall -- not brand new stems. Wait too long after flowering to prune, and you risk cutting off newly formed buds set to become the next year's blooms.
Sterilize your pruning tools by wiping the blades with common household disinfectant to prevent the spread of disease. If your plant shows no signs of disease or insect pests, sterilize the blades before and after each bush. If disease or pests are known problems for your Wine & Roses weigela, sterilize your blades before and after each cut. Wear gloves and protective clothing when pruning.
Remove any dead, damaged or crossing and rubbing branches by cutting them all the way back to the base or to a healthy branch or bud. Angle cuts upward at about a 45-degree angle so they end about 1/4 inch above an outward pointing bud.
Remove any straggly branches to restore the shrub's attractive 4- to 5-foot height and 4- to 6-foot spread or keep it smaller, if you prefer. Follow the plant's natural shape, using the same cutting method for dead or damaged branches, to shape and thin so light and air penetrate more easily.
For major renovations, remove one-third of the oldest stems all the way back to the ground. Repeat the process the following two years, until all the stems are renewed. Do this type of pruning during late winter, while the plant is dormant. You'll sacrifice spring flowers, but invest in future years.
Things You Will Need
- Hand pruners
- Garden gloves