The last time you pruned your weigela bush, it failed to flower. What went wrong? Is Weigela pruning difficult or inadvisable? Not at all. Weigelas are perfectly easy to maintain. You just have to start pruning Weigela plants at the right time. The following advice will give you everything you need to know about Weigela pruning to get the most out of this flowering shrub.
when to prune Weigela: The art of pruning weigela to encourage flowering
Prune your Weigela just after flowering. Flowering occurs from late spring through early summer. Pruning at this time will allow your Weigela to put on plenty of new growth. Next year’s flowers will develop on this year’s new growth (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 (a little closer than recommended). This year, it has gone crazy with plenty of flowers and lush growth.
So, here’s a recap on how and when to prune Weigela:
- When: Just after flowering—spring to early summer. Although you can cut them in September.
- 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, easy to grow, and virtually pest-free, but it also produces masses of spectacular 1-inch foxglove-like flowers in shades from red to white during late spring and early summer. Bees and butterflies also seem to favour Weigela. Although not at all edible, this shrub is non-toxic and a great plant for any family garden. Get more family-friendly plants in your garden and read the following article on non-toxic plants.
Foliage is another key feature. Weigela is not evergreen, but it 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 is a relative of honeysuckle and originally comes from China. It is tolerant of most soil types. Weigela can be successfully grown in either semi-shades or full sun, making 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 feet tall if left to its own devices. I have found that 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 Weigela pruning, when to prune weigela shrubs, or general growing tips, visit this RHS post.
FAQs about weigela pruning & flower growth
The best time to prune weigela would be in the spring after they’ve finished blooming. It takes roughly a year for the wood that the flowers bloom from to grow.
You can cut back any one branch of the weigela by one-third each season if you are looking to control size. Make sure that when you prune Weigela branches back to a point where two branches meet.
As the plant matures, you should pruning it. This is done in early spring by removing two or three of the largest canes from the ground. Repeat this process each year over a three-year period to re-invigorate old plants.
Weigela thrives in full to partial sun. Too little light and the plant will not bloom; too much light, on the other hand, can be harmful. Plants in areas with intense afternoon sunlight must be relocated to areas with morning sun and afternoon shade.
Weigela flowers do not require deadheading. When the new blossoms emerge, they simply knock the spent blossoms off.
As part of Weigela care, growing Weigela should be fertilised once a year. A balanced plant food applied on a regular basis in late winter can encourage more spring blooms. Smaller plants require less pruning and require less space for growth.
Weigela pruning should be carried out in the late autumn or early summer after flowering. You can start pruning weigela before it blooms to encourage more flowers this year, or after it blooms to encourage stronger growth the following blooming season.