Shrubs & Trees

When to prune Weigela for more flowers

Beautiful garden shrubs: Weigela. Variegated foliage and masses of foxglove flowers in shades from red to white.

The last time you pruned your weigela bush it failed to flower. What went wrong? Are they difficult to grow? Not at all. Weigelas are perfectly easy to maintain. You just have to prune them at the right time. The following advice will give you everything you need to know to get your weigela to flower in abundance, each and every year.

Weigela florida ‘Variegata’ in full bloom

When to prune Weigela to encourage flowering

Weigela should be pruned just after flowering. Flowering occurs during late Spring through to early Summer. Pruning at this time will give your Weigela the opportunity to put on plenty of new growth. Next year’s flowers will develop on this year’s new growth (or by that next year – old growth). Trimming shoots too early or too late will result in either fewer flowers or none at all.

Always trim each branch just above a shoot or ‘growth node’. You can cut back as much growth as you want but as a standard, 1/3 off is usually enough. I recently inherited a huge straggly Weigela and trimmed it down to about 25% of its original size. This year, it has gone crazy with plenty of flowers and lush growth.

So, here’s a recap on when and how to prune your Weigela:

  • When: Just after flowering – Spring to early Summer.
  • How: Prune branches just above a shoot and take it down to as little as 1/3 of the shrub size.

A shrub with benefits

I’ve been growing weigela for many years now and it is possibly one of my favourite garden flowering shrubs. Not only is it very hardy and easy to grow, and virtually pest-free, it produces masses of spectacular 1-inch foxglove-like flowers in shades from red to white during late Spring/early Summer. Bees and butterflies also seem to favour Weigela. Although not at all edible, this shrub is totally non-toxic and a great plant for any family garden.

Foliage is another key feature. Weigela is not evergreen, but more than makes up for it with masses of lush, dense foliage in various shades of green. My favourite is the variegated variety – Weigela florida ‘Variegata’.

Weigela, a relative of honeysuckle and originally comes from China. It is tolerant of most soil types. Weigela can be successfully grown in either semi-shade or full sun and makes it a great addition to any garden. I have also trained a Weigela as a hedge. But remember – flowers form from last year’s growth, so be careful when you trim. You will see some flowers inside the hedge, but in practical terms, this is not the best use of Weigela.

Weigela will happily grow to 8 ft tall is left to its own devices. I have found that a ruthless pruning every few years will do it the world of good and bring new vigour to this lovely garden shrub.

For more information on when to prune your Weigela or general growing tips, visit this RHS post.

By James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

View Archive

One reply on “When to prune Weigela for more flowers”

What a tough shrub the Weigela is! During the last weeks of summer, I chopped my ‘out-of-control’ Weigela down to withing 10 centimetres of the ground. Now, (late November), my shrub has put on plenty of new growth – up to 12 centimetres!

Tip: As with any pruning, ensure that you keep the centre of your Weigela open so that it forms a cup shape. This allows for good air circulation, preventing possible disease. Also, remove any crossing stems. These may rub together and become infected. Always prune to a 45-degree angle just above a growing point to allow for rain run-off.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *