Questions on: Weigela

Ron Smith, Horticulturist, NDSU Extension Service

Q: I am writing in regard to the weigela Florida variegata. I've read some places it blooms from spring into fall and in other places, spring to early summer. Does it depend on the zone or the nursery selling it? Thanks. (e-mail reference)

A: The plants I have seen bloom from spring into early to midsummer, depending on exposure. I would think that a local nursery could tell you more accurately than me or any catalog.

Q: I have two weigela bushes that look as though frost got to them. Will they come back? What should I do to help them? (e-mail reference)

A: Best thing to do is wait to see what new growth comes out and then prune out everything else.

Q: I have a few varieties of weigela that have beautiful, deep burgundy foliage. Last season I noticed that the foliage started to fade and became a dreary color by the end of summer. I want to prevent that this season. Is it nitrogen deficiency? Is this common? What do you suggest? (Minneapolis, Minn.)

A: I suggest checking to be sure they are not planted too deeply or have too much mulch covering the roots. If that is not the case, then I would suggest a soil test. Check primarily for pH and soluble salt levels. If those are normal, then check to see if the plants are getting added reflected light from a building surface. This is all assuming that you have not observed any insect activity from aphids, scale or spider mites.

Q: I planted three wine and roses wiegela bushes around my pond. My concern is that they will grow too large. Can you tell me how tall and how big around they normally get? I'm not sure I have them planted in the right place to allow for growth. (e-mail reference)

A: They get to 4 or 5 feet tall and about as wide. They easily are kept in bounds with selective pruning. Wiegela are nice, compact plants.

Q: This spring we planted some Nashville and Newport shrub roses and weigela bushes in the landscape rock surrounding our house. They are planted on the west and northwest side of our country home and will catch all of the cold winter winds. We want to try to help them make it through the winter and are planning on using hay to cover them. However, we are not sure about the pruning. All of the shrubs did well. Should they be pruned back after they go into dormancy this fall? Also, how do you recommend pruning 3-year-old spirea bushes? (Aberdeen, S.D.)

A: I would hold off on the pruning this fall as they will not have time to heal sufficiently. Do your pruning next spring in late March or early April. Concerning the spirea shrubs, I would selectively prune out the oldest canes as far back as possible, but no more than a third of the canes.

Q: I have a wiegela bush that needs pruning. How much can I take off ? Does it bloom on old or new growth ? Does it bloom heavier one year, not so heavy the next? Like lilacs? (Jamestown, N.D.)

A: The wiegela does some of both, old and new growth. It may have an alternate blooming cycle, but I would bet that it has more to do with the fact that the flower buds may be borderline hardy and what happens is the buds formed on the previous season's growth get nipped in some winters. Remove about one-third of the oldest canes right back to the ground.

Q: I have a couple of large Weigala bushes. I pruned them after they finished blooming this summer, and then they bloomed again. Do I prune again? (e-mail)

A: Keep it to midsummer pruning after blooming. You may need to do some spring clean-up pruning to get rid of winter injured branches.

Q: I would like to know if a Weigela bush should be pruned after it has flowered? I read it should be pruned to the ground after flowering to ensure good blooms next summer. Is this true? (Platte, S.D.)

A: Weigela will flower on new growth, so I suggest heavily pruning the growth that is 2 or more years old.

This is a fussy soil and drainage plant, so if your soil and drainage isn't suitable, the plant will always show a lot of dead wood coming out of winter. Then it would be appropriate to cut it to the ground to revive it.

Q: I have a question concerning my weigela shrub. It has been sprayed with diazinon by accident and it is killing all the foliage. Can I prune this bush extensively to
save it or what can I do that may help? (Potosi, Mo., e-mail)

A: I don't know why diazinon would be killing your weigela shrub. But yes, cut it back hard, close to the ground to see if that will save it.

Q: Could you please tell me how to start a new weigela from a clipping? I have two: one 5 feet tall and the other 3 feet. I would love to start one, but I’m not sure
how to do it. (Spalding, Mich., e-mail)

A: This attractive shrub is easily propagated either by hardwood cuttings planted in the early spring or by softwood tip cuttings under mist taken any
time from spring into fall. Treatment with IBA, a rooting hormone, would accelerate the process.

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