Old-fashioned weigelas (photo right) are somewhat maligned nowadays, with Michael Dirr saying “The leaves are a nondescript green and are even worse in fail.” And I agree — I wouldn’t put it next to my front door. But for a large space in the garden, seen from a distance, nothing adds more to a full, lush garden than these fast-growers. They can also be used to good effect at the back of a border or as part of a mixed hedge.
The smaller, newer and less maligned varieties can be used closer to the front, or in other more visible spots – like the ‘White Knight shown here.
Native to Japan.
- Full or mostly sun.
- Flowers in May and June and sporadically after (according to some experts, though I’ve never seen that happen)
- Zones 5-8.
- ‘White Knight’ grows to 5′ x 6′, ‘Wine and Roses’ to 5′ x 5′ and the common variety to 6-9′ x 9-12′.
- Very drought-tolerant.
- Untroubled by insects or disease.
- Prune after flowering by removing old or congested stems to the base. Other stems can be shortened by half if smaller size is desired.
- Old plants can be rejuvenated all at once. Just cut all the stems to ground in late winter/early spring. I did it to the common weigelas in the top photo and they grew back to the size you see there in one year, then back to their original size the next.