Questions Answered Series: How To Grow Weigela

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Weigela is an easy-care shrub smothered in trumpet-shaped blooms that attract pollinators!

Weigela (Weigela florida) is a deciduous shrub that has quickly become one of the most popular landscape plants on the market today. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular: weigela is easy to grow, deer-resistant, versatile, and has vibrant blooms that attract pollinators like a magnet. Aside from its flowers, the dark, variegated, or rich green foliage provides an excellent background to perennials and other shrubs. If you’ve been curious about planting this superstar shrub, we’re here to help.

Here, we’ll show you how to grow and care for weigela shrubs and answer your frequently asked questions. 

Sonic Bloom® Pink Weigela lined throughout a garden

Have a specific question? Jump ahead!

How to grow weigela:

  • Soil: Weigela can grow in any moist but well-drained soil. It can tolerate some dryness once established, and some varieties are more drought-tolerant than others.
  • Light: Needs full sun to grow (at least 6+ hours of sun per day).
  • Water: Weigela has average water needs. Once established, it needs less consistent watering.
  • Fertilizing:If desired, apply a granular rose or garden fertilizer to your weigela shrub in early spring. Never fertilize weigela past mid-summer, as this increases the likelihood of winter damage to any new growth the plant puts on. Learn which fertilizer we recommend you use HERE.
  • Winterizing: A good 2-3″ layer of mulch is recommended before winter.
  • Maintenance & Pruning: It’s not necessary to prune or trim. Weigela shrubs bloom on old wood, so pruning them in spring will remove flowers. If needed, you can prune after they finish flowering later in the season. Once plants are mature (after at least 5 years in the ground), you may want to remove a few of the oldest stems each year to keep them producing vigorous young growth.
  • Growing tips: Weigela is one of the last shrubs to leaf out in spring, so don’t panic if you aren’t seeing signs of life, even if everything else in your yard has started to grow.

When does weigela bloom?

Weigela blooms on old wood and is susceptible to severe winter damage. But this shrub is resilient and can often quickly bounce back after a season of frigid temperatures. As stated above in our grow guide, weigela is one of the last shrubs to leaf out in the spring, leading many people to wonder if their weigela is dead or dormant. Not to fear! Most weigela varieties will begin to flower heavily in late spring or early summer.

How do you pronounce weigela?

We get this question often! The genus name “weigela” originates from the mid-1700s, when German scientist Christian Ehrenfried Weigel discovered the shrub in Eastern Asia. Scottish plant hunter Robert Fortune then brought weigela from Japan to England to begin growing prolific blooms there, and the rest is history.

Say it with us now: wy-JEE-la!

What are the different types of weigela?

Are you looking to purchase weigela but need to know what options are available for your landscape? While there are many varieties of this vibrant shrub, these are some of the most popular—some you may have even heard of already! They include lovely landscape shrubs, some that thrive in containers and others that may be more tolerant of shade. Click the name to learn more.

Wine & Roses® Weigela: Wine & Roses® features dark purplish burgundy leaves that are joined in late spring by a profusion of electric pink tubular flowers, which re-bloom here and there as a treat in summer. Nothing beats the combination of pretty foliage and flowers, which bring season-long color to the garden.

Sonic Bloom® Weigela: Known for its sheer flower power, this weigela forms clusters of pink buds that open to pink in late spring. The biggest flowers show in late spring, but this new variety will rebloom well into fall without any deadheading. Loved by butterflies & hummingbirds, and gardeners alike, this versatile shrub will add value to any landscape.

My Monet® Weigela: The original and still the champion! My Monet® weigela from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs has been around for a long time, but nothing can beat its gorgeous foliage. Foliage is a very neatly variegated mint green and white, with pink flushes during cool spring and fall weather.

Czechmark Trilogy® Weigela: Why settle for one color when you can have three? Czechmark Trilogy® transforms the standard with a remarkable three-color bloom! Clusters of 1/2″ funnel-shaped flowers have a colorful white, pink, and red array for a crown jewel performance in late spring to early summer.

Up close image of pink and white weigela blooms
Pictured above: Czechmark Trilogy® Weigela
My Monet planted in the garden next to a cat statue
Pictured above: My Monet® Weigela

When should weigela be pruned?

Weigela blooms on old wood, so we don’t recommend pruning unless necessary. Doing so may reduce the number of flowers for the upcoming season. If you do need to trim or prune, you can do so immediately after your weigela finishes flowering. 

Why isn't my weigela blooming?

While patience is crucial in allowing your weigela time to flower in late spring and early summer, there may be a few reasons why your weigela shrubs may not bloom. One of the biggest culprits is sunlight; weigela is a sun-loving shrub that needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily for the best flowering. However, like hydrangeas, weigela could benefit from afternoon shade, especially in southern areas with high summer temperatures.

Another reason your weigela may not bloom is excessive fertilizer use and too much pruning. See our how-to-grow guide above to ensure you follow the proper steps when planting your shrubs.

Do polliantors like weigela?

Yes, weigela shrubs are irresistible to pollinators, especially hummingbirds and butterflies! These pollinators are naturally attracted to tubular-shaped flowers and bright colors like pink, red, and purple, which weigela has in spades. Bees also can’t resist the nectar and large flowers. Not only does weigela bloom prolifically, but its bloom time is quite long, making a buffet for pollinators all season long. 

Bee feeding on pink weigela flower

Is weigela deer-resistant?

The bright blooms and glossy green foliage may seem like an appetizing treat for deer and other critters, but this is actually far from the truth. Weigela is deer-resistant and rabbit-resistant, receiving a B ranking (seldom severely damaged by deer) from the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers. This makes weigela a great addition to any garden or landscape that has a problem with troublesome critters. When planted in full sun, weigela is also remarkably disease-resistant.

Is weigela toxic to dogs or cats?

No, weigela is not toxic to cats or dogs. However, Great Garden Plants advises that pets, children, or adults do not consume any flowers, weeds, trees or bushes. Ornamental plants are intended to be just that – ornamental. They should not be consumed by people or pets.

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Written by: Lindsey Griffith, click here to read bio.

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