Growing weigela in your garden isn’t too difficult. Their water requirements are average and providing you pick a good spot with plenty of sunlight, they should thrive for many years.
Below is a full guide to weigela that includes their origins and varieties, feeding and growing tips, when to plant them, common diseases and problems and frequently asked questions.
Let’s start by looking at the origins and different varieties of weigela.
Origins & Varieties
Weigela originated from Japan but today they’re grown in many different climates around the world.
Below are some of the most common varieties of weigela –
Red prince weigela have very distinctive, bright red flowers and can grow to be 1.5 meters in height.
Weigela Monet are much smaller than a lot of other weigela plants, measuring roughly 60cm high. Their leaves are a mixture of green, pink and white with deep pink flowers. They are best planted in a spot where there’s plenty of direct sunlight.
Middendorffiiana has beautiful yellow flowers and bright green leaves. It also grows over a meter tall, so it’s a great choice if you want to add interest to your garden.
Bristol ruby weigela can grow up to 2.5 meters tall, making them a particularly large species. They also have a very distinctive look, with dark green leaves and crimson flowers.
As you would imagine from the name, Mont-blanc weigela shrubs have white flowers mixed with green foliage. The flowers tend to be pure white, but they can develop some pink as the plant ages.
It may not be as colourful as other varieties, but it does have a great understated look that would suit most gardens.
The light pink flowers and oval-shaped leaves of Florida variegata give it a classic look that a lot of people associate with weigela plants. It can grow to be 2.5 meters tall in the right conditions.
Feeding, Care & Growing Tips
Growing weigela in your garden isn’t too difficult, but it is important to know the best way to go about it if you want your plants to thrive.
Below is a full guide to growing weigela in your garden, including the initial planting, watering, picking the right spot and using fertiliser.
Before planting, you should ensure that the soil is in decent condition. Soil that’s too hard, frozen or waterlogged would not be suitable.
The roots of weigela that have already been established tend to be quite substantial, so be sure to make a hole in the sole that can accommodate it properly. You should make the hole as least as deep as the roots and roughly twice as wide. Make sure to cover it properly and using a layer of mulch would not be a bad idea, particularly if you’re planning in autumn.
Weigela plants have average watering needs. This means if there’s a decent downpour during the week, then you usually don’t need to worry about watering them. You should certainly water them during dry spells, however. Make sure to soak the roots well when watering.
Picking the right spot
The best spot for weigela would be in either full or partial sunlight. Although weigela can cope in shaded spots, they won’t flourish in the same way as they would with a good amount of sunlight.
Using a good fertiliser that’s suitable for shrubs is certainly a good idea when you first plant your weigela. Make sure to avoid getting it on the leaves of the plants, since this can cause issues with fungal diseases.
It’s a good idea to prune weigela plants so you can ensure good air circulation and encourage new growth. The best time to prune your plants would be in the late spring. This will give you a chance to remove any wilting flowers without disturbing the branches that next year’s flowers will grow from.
When To Plant
The best time to plant weigela would be either in the spring or autumn. This is because it prevents the plants from being immediately exposed to strong sunlight, which can be an issue when you’re transplanting already established bushes.
Where To Buy Weigela Shrubs
There are plenty of places you can buy weigela shrubs, both online and in person. You want to be sure that any plants you buy have been grown in optimal conditions and fit your needs.
With this in mind – some of the most important things to consider when buying weigela are –
Not all weigela are the same and the colours of the leaves/flowers, as well as the size they can grow to, varies a lot depending on the species. You should think about the space you have in your garden as well as the type of colours you prefer most.
You also need to consider how much sunlight the spots where you’ll be planting your shrubs get and choose accordingly.
Price is always going to be a big consideration when you’re buying weigela shrubs. The price can vary a lot depending on where you get them from and whether you buy online or in person. Thankfully, it’s very easy to compare prices now thanks to the internet.
Delivery is another consideration if you’re buying your shrubs online. You want to be sure that they’re going to be well packaged and there’s no risk of them getting damaged in transit. Most reputable suppliers will take no chances when it comes to delivering their plants.
How To Propagate
There are a couple of reliable ways to go about propagating weigela, both using cuttings. It is possible to propagate using seed but it’s not as reliable, so here we’ll focus on using cuttings.
Using early cuttings
Using cuttings that you take in late summer/early autumn is the first method you can use to propagate weigela.
Before taking any cuttings, it’s a good idea to take any steps you can prior to ensure the plant is in optimal condition. A very good way to do this is by watering the plant you’ll be taking the cuttings from a day before you do. You’ll only need to do this if the soil is dry.
Make sure that any cuttings you take have a decent amount of foliage with healthy-looking stems. Cut just below the leaf bud and make sure to remove some of the leaves that are close to the base in order to reduce the water requirements.
Once you’ve taken the cuttings, it’s a good idea to use a rooting hormone powder on the roots of them to encourage healthy growth and reduce the risk of rotting. You should place your cuttings in decent-sized containers and use a good quality compost.
It’s important to ensure the cuttings get a decent amount of sunlight but aren’t overexposed. A greenhouse would be an ideal location but failing that you can place them in a semi-shaded spot in the house.
You should check on your cuttings at least once a week, being sure to remove any unhealthy-looking foliage as well as watering as needed.
Using hardwood cuttings
The second method for propagating weigela is using hardwood cuttings. This is where you take fully mature cuttings from the current year’s growth. You should follow the same steps as mentioned above when making the cuttings.
The advantage to using hardwood cuttings as opposed to early cuttings, is that you’re able to grow them outdoors as well as indoors. If you choose to plant them outdoors, then you will need to take a bit of care to encourage the best growth. You should use a good quality compost and plant the stems so there’s roughly a third of them protruding from the soil.
Growing them in containers, either indoors or in a greenhouse is another option. This does give you some advantages – namely being able to protect the cuttings from the harsh winter weather.
If you do plant the cuttings in containers, then be sure to also use good quality compost and water them whenever they become dry.
Providing you check on them regularly and provide proper care, they should be ready to plant outdoors by the next autumn.
Common Diseases & Problems
Below are some of the most common diseases and problems that weigela can suffer from –
Powdery mildew is a very common type of fungal disease that affects a wide variety of plants. It’s so-called because the leaves of infected plants will have a coat of mildew on them that resembles white powder.
To avoid powdery mildew, you should ensure that your plants have plenty of space between them for good circulation. You should also take care when watering to avoid any water getting on the leaves.
If you have any plants that are affected by powdery mildew, then you should remove infected leaves, or in more severe cases – dig up and destroy infected plants.
Black spot is another type of fungal disease that can affect weigela. It will cause infected plants to develop black spots on their leaves and will often result in the leaves falling off the plant.
To avoid black spot, you should take care not to get the leaves wet when watering, since this is often how it spreads. It’s also a good idea to use mulch, which helps to prevent water from splashing up.
Rust is a fungal disease that will cause orange coloured spots to appear on the leaves of infected plants. If you notice any plants that are affected by rust, then you should either remove them or use a good fungicide.
Spider mites may be small, but they can cause a lot of damage to plants. As well as injecting toxins into plants, they also leave visible webbing and quickly multiply. Thankfully, it’s quite easy to get rid of them. A simple spray of fungicidal soap or water is usually enough to remove them from plants.
Mealybugs are another pest that can affect weigela. They are troublesome for a few reasons. Firstly, they will drink from the leaves, which can easily result in poor growth. The honeydew they excrete also attracts ants as well as causing further issues with the honeydew itself growing mould.
Aphids feed on the bottom of leaves and the residue they leave behind can attract ants. If aphids become a problem, then you can wash them off with water or a fungicide. Another effective way to deal with them is by growing plants that attract predators, such as wasps and ladybirds.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I prune Weigela?
The best time to prune weigela would be in the spring, after they’ve finished blooming. The reason for this is that it takes roughly a year for the wood that the flowers bloom from to grow. By pruning immediately after your plants have bloomed in the spring, you will avoid cutting off wood that the plant will need to bloom the following year.
Are weigela acid-loving plants?
Weigela plants do best in soil that’s slightly acidic, with a pH level of around 5.5-6.
Are weigela evergreen or deciduous?
Weigela are deciduous plants, so they’ll generally look at their best during the late spring and summer.
Are weigela poisonous to humans, dogs or cats?
No, weigela plants aren’t poisonous to animals or humans, so you don’t need to worry about this if you grow them in your garden.
Are weigela deer resistant?
Yes. Deer usually won’t damage or destroy weigela plants.