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Weigela Bushes

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Picture of Weigela florida.

Picture of Weigela florida.

David Beaulieu

Plant Taxonomy of Weigela Bushes:

Plant taxonomy classifies weigela bushes (sometimes misspelled "weigelia") as Weigela florida. This is a case where the Latin name (Weigela) is so commonly used that it essentially doubles as a common name; when used as a common name for these bushes, I don't capitalize the word. Many weigela cultivars exist, including 'Wine and Roses,' 'Midnight Wine' and 'Variegata' (variegated). Except where explicitly stated otherwise, I deal only with the old-time Weigela florida in this introduction.

Plant Type:

Weigela florida is a deciduous flowering shrub.

Characteristics:

Weigela bushes grow to a height of 6-10 feet with a similar spread. Their arching branches produce pink, white or red flowers in late spring to early summer. The flowers of these shrubs are trumpet-shaped, and their color may be more intense when they first bloom.

Planting Zones:

Weigela bushes are indigenous to Asia and can be grown in planting zones 4-8.

Sun and Soil Requirements:

Although they tolerate a variety of conditions, plant the shrubs in full sun and in a well-drained soil for optimal results.

Outstanding Feature:

The old-fashioned weigela bush was grown just for its blossoms, which are prolific and attract hummingbirds. But new cultivars offer interesting choices for foliage, too. 'Variegata' has variegated leaves. The foliage of 'Wine and Roses' and 'Midnight Wine' is burgundy-purple. Still other types of weigela bushes have gold or lime-colored foliage.

Care for Weigela Bushes:

Most growers of these shrubs like the natural form weigela bushes assume, so pruning is not always necessary. If you do choose to prune, do so just after flowering. Has your shrub failed to bloom? Be patient: mine didn't bloom its first year.

Uses:

These bushes make good foundation plants and can serve as specimens in late spring, when they blossom. In addition to being effective at attracting hummingbirds, they are also plants that attract butterflies.

Origin of the Name:

The name "weigela" comes from a German scientist named Christian Ehrenfried Weigel.

Weigelas, Old-Fashioned Favorites:

Weigela bushes are old-time favorites, albeit on a tier or two below lilacs and azaleas and rhododendrons in name recognition. These shrubs took a back seat for a while in popularity, until new cultivars fueled the comeback that they are presently enjoying.


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