In June we have a lot of great plants blooming. The spring blooming shrubs have finished blooming and we are moving on to the summer blooming shrubs. One great choice for summer bloom is a Weigela.
Weigela, Weigela florida, is a medium-sized shrub that grows up to 6-8 feet tall and wide. It is hard to pronounce, ‘wy-GEE-la’. The branches grow with an arching habit and the branches are filled with funnel shaped flowers during the bloom time. It blooms from late May-July with pink, white, or red flowers that are each 1.25 inches long. The leaves are opposite with serrate edges and have a point on the tip. The leaves are considered nearly sessile, which means that they have a very short petiole that holds the leaf to the branch. The stems have 2 rows of white hairs running from node to node. They also have large, circular lenticels that are prominent on the stems.
Weigela is adaptable, but it does not tolerate poor drainage, so it needs to be planted in well-drained soil. It prefers full sun but will take part sun. Do not plant it in full shade, this will kill the plant. If it has gone without pruning for a long time, this plant will endure a rejuvenation pruning in the fall to clean it up. Otherwise, cane it out, which is the process of annually removing a third of the largest, unproductive canes at the ground level. Pruning is best done in late winter. It can be used as a specimen plant, a border or screen, or as a massing of plants.
Wine ‘n Roses is a common variety of weigela found. It is a little smaller, at only 4 feet tall and wide, and it has deep purple foliage for more interest to the landscape. There is also a ‘variegata’ which has green foliage variegated with a cream, white color. The flowers are pink on ‘variegata’ and on Wine ‘n Roses. For a very small option, ‘Minuet’ is only 2-foot-tall and has ruby red flowers with a purple-tinge on the dark green leaves. ‘Avalanche’ has white flowers with a pink tinge. There are many more varieties and cultivars to choose from, select what is best for the location and your preference on leaf and flower color.
Many people look for plants that bring hummingbirds to their landscapes, this is a plant that hummingbirds will visit. It can be damaged by deer foraging, though. There are no major pests of weigela, but Japanese beetles can damage it. It can also get leaf spot disease. Weigela is also prone to winter dieback, pruning in the late winter should remove most of that.
Weigela’s are great additions to most any landscape. They are called ‘Old Fashioned Weigela’ but that is mostly because it has been around for a very long time. It is a good addition because it blooms during the summer and is very floriferous. There are a lot of choices for weigela including size; pink, white, or red flower color; and green, variegated, or burgundy foliage to fit this plant into most any landscape setting. So, the next time you are looking for a summer blooming shrub, look at Weigela.