When to Prune Weigela

Written by bonnie grant
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When to Prune Weigela
Weigela comes in many forms and there are even variegated foliage cultivars. (weigela image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com)

Weigela are deciduous bushes that produce a colourful spring display of flowers. Many cultivars exist with some larger plants that can grow 7 to 8 feet tall and lower dwarf bushes that may not even get to 4 feet. Weigela is unremarkable after the blooms have faded and works best in the landscape in a mixed border with other plants of opposing seasonal interest. Weigela responds well to pruning and can even be fooled into producing another flush of blooms.

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Characteristics

Weigela is a woody bush to small tree with multiple stems. It produces a sweet tubular flower that opens to a small trumpet shape. The blooms are generally white, pink and salmon with 2- to 4-inch long green or variegated leaves. Hummingbirds and pollinators are attracted to the nectar of the flowers. The growth habit of the plant is rather splayed and leggy unless kept compact with pruning. May or June is usually when the first blooms can be expected on Weigela and some varieties will bloom all summer.

Pruning Weigela

Prune weigela after the flowers are finished blooming, cutting the plant back to one-third of its original height. Individual cuts work best; avoid shearing. Use sharp pruners and remove all damaged or diseased wood. Weigela bloom on 1-year-old wood, so it is important not to cut any of the current season's growth, as it will provide flowers next year. Pruning right after blooming will avoid accidentally cutting any budding wood from the bush. Cut any branches back to where the original branch forks.

Forcing a Second Bloom

Phosphorus is a macronutrient that all plants require. It drives fruit and flower formation. Midway through the first blooming cycle, you can fertilise with a phosphate food to encourage blooms. Water it in well, as the fertiliser will carry a lot of sodium, which damages roots. Deadhead or tip prune as the flowers die off. With proper weather and the phosphorus fertiliser, the plant will be fooled into sending out another bloom cycle. After the second bloom, prune the plant as instructed.

Care of Weigela

Weigela needs plenty of water and should not be planted in hard to water areas. The bush thrives in full sun in soil with plenty of organic matter and good drainage. Weigela are relatively pest-free and have few disease problems. Weigela do not transplant well, so be certain the site chosen is appropriate and the bush has room to grow. Weigela is a slow growing plant but will get quite large over the course of a few seasons. Fertilise the plant with a balanced fertiliser in very early spring before the plant has regrown its foliage.

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