Garden Clippings for June 3, 2023

The Weigelas are angry.  Weigelas are an ever-expanding group of flowering shrubs, but for the last decade or two they’ve lived in the shadow of Hydrangeas.  And as long as Hydrangeas remain a hot commodity, Weigelas will continue to take a chapter out of the Toronto Maple Leaf book.

In the landscape, Weigelas are a versatile, dependable, and well-behaved family of flowering shrubs.  Their performance is guaranteed and will deliver a flood of flowers in mid-spring.

Weigelas are easy care ornamental plants with pink or red trumpet shaped blooms.  The old favorites, Weigela ‘Florida’ and ‘Bristol Ruby’ will grow to 6 feet or more, but they have largely been cast aside in favour of the many interesting smaller varieties that only grow to a few feet.

Weigelas love to grow where they get at least half a day of sun.  They will tolerate shade, but will produce less flowers.  For shade gardens, plant the Variegated or Golden leafed varieties whose foliage is more significant than bloom.

For gardens with poor soil, Weigelas are a good fit.  At planting time mix triple mix, compost or manure with the existing soil to ensure Weigelas get a healthy start.  Weigelas prefer a well-drained rich soil but once established, will thrive in any soil conditions.

Water Weigelas well at planting time and be mindful of summer heat and draught for the first year.  By year two, they will be able to handle any heat, draught, wet or cold.  A layer of mulch over the soil surface will help retain soil moisture.

Although not necessary, Weigelas will benefit from an annual pruning.  Do so in late spring or early summer, after the flowers have dropped.  Weigelas are similar to Lilac, Mock Orange, Spirea and Forsythia in that they bloom on flower buds that are produced in the previous summer.  The dwarf varieties will remain dwarf and will not need to be pruned to retain their shape.

Weigelas’ claim to fame are their showy trumpet shaped blooms that appear as early as the middle of May persisting into July.  Sometimes they will produce a second, smaller set of flowers in late summer.

If attracting hummingbirds is your game, be sure to plant at least a few brightly coloured Weigelas in the garden.   They will dart from flower to flower, feeding on the nectar from deep within the trumpet shaped blooms.

Weigela varieties are too numerous to mention.  ‘Spilled Wine,’ a Proven Winner selection, has bright pink flowers on a compact bush with deep purple foliage.  ‘Wine and Roses’ is similar but grows larger at nearly 5 ft height and width.  ‘Bristol Snowflake’ has pure white flowers on green foliage.  ‘Rubidor’ has rose coloured blooms contrasting nicely against its attractive chartreuse foliage.