How to Prune Weigela Bushes
The weigela bush (Weigela florida) is a flowering deciduous shrub native to China, Korea and Japan. These spring-blooming perennials are grown for their attractive funnel-shaped blooms. Weigela care includes pruning to help it keep its shape and size.
Weigela bushes are hardy in USDA plant zones 4 through 8.
About Weigela Bushes
Weigela shrubs bloom in mid to late spring and may occasionally bloom again in late summer. The flower colors, which depend on the cultivar, include various shades of pink, red and white. The species plant has pink blooms. Weigela flowers attract hummingbirds.
The leaves of weigela bushes are ellipse shaped and medium green in color with toothed margins. These shrubs are known for retaining their leaf color well into the growing season. Their fall color is not particularly noteworthy.
In landscaping, weigela bushes are typically used in shrub borders and as foundation plantings. If left unpruned, the branches on mature weigela bushes sometimes arch toward the ground, giving the plant a fountain-like appearance that can be quite attractive.
Small cultivars can also be grown in containers.
Species weigela bushes may grow to heights between 6 and 10 feet, with spreads up to 12 feet. Pruning is one way to maintain their size. However, more compact cultivars for small spaces are available, such as ‘Alexandra’ (Weigela florida 'Alexandra', zones 4 through 8), often sold under the name Wine & Roses, which reaches maximum heights of about 5 feet. It has reddish-pink flowers.
Another dwarf weigela, My Monet (Weigela florida 'Verwieg', zones 4 to 8), grows less than 2 feet tall. This cultivar is another pink weigela with variegated foliage. Meanwhile, Sonic Bloom (Weigela florida 'Verweig 6', zones 4 through 9) grows to heights between 4 and 6 feet and has red flowers.
Weigela shrubs can reach as tall as 12 feet or less than 2 feet, depending on the cultivar.
Weigela Bush Pruning
Weigela bushes are pruned to maintain their shape and size, especially if you want small shrubs. In some cases, it is also necessary to prune these bushes to remove any dead branches that have succumbed to winter temperatures.
Mature bushes can also be pruned to remove the oldest branches. This can result in more vigorous growth and blooming.
When to Trim Weigela
Weigela bushes flower on old wood, which simply means that they produce flower buds on branches that grew the previous year. Therefore, if you prune these flowering shrubs at the wrong time of year, you risk removing potential flower buds and reducing the spring bloom the following growing season.
Because weigela shrubs produce flowers on the previous year's wood, prune immediately after flowering before new buds are set to avoid interfering with the following year's bloom.
Therefore, it's best to prune weigela bushes immediately after they have finished flowering in June. That said, you can prune mature, established weigela bushes in late winter to thin out old branches in the center of the bush.
Weigela Bush Culture and Care
Weigela bushes grow best in well-draining soils, though they can thrive even in clay soils.
While they can tolerate some light partial shade, for best flowering and foliage color, it's best to plant weigela shrubs in a place in which they receive full sun, which means at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
- North Carolina State Extension: Weigela Florida
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Weigela florida
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Weigela florida 'Alexandra' WINE AND ROSES
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Weigela florida 'Verweig' MY MONET
- Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: When should I prune my weigela?
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Weigela florida 'Verweig 6'
- Keep your gardening clippers sharp, so you can make clean cuts.
Since beginning her career as a professional journalist in 2007, Nathalie Alonso has covered a myriad of topics, including arts, culture and travel, for newspapers and magazines in New York City. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Columbia University and lives in Queens with her two cats.