When planted right and in the right spot, Weigela plants are exceptionally easy to grow. 


Here's a breakdown of what you need to know to be planting and growing Weigela like the pros...


Cultural Preferences


Soil Preferences

Weigela are tolerant of a wide range of soils, but prefer a moist but well-drained rich loam. As with so many other types of ornamental plants, constantly soggy or wet soil can be problematic. So make sure the planting site is a well-drained one.


How To Test Soil Drainage  

If you are uncertain about soil drainage in the area you intend to plant your Weigela , it's well worth taking the time to test the drainage before planting. 

To test soil drainage, dig a hole 12" wide by 12" deep in the planting area. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. Then, after it drains, fill it with water again, but this time clock how long it takes to drain. In well-drained soil the water level will go down at a rate of about 1 inch an hour. A faster rate, such as in loose, sandy soil, may signal potentially dry site conditions. A slower rate indicates poor draining soil and is a caution you need to improve drainage, plant in a raised mound or bed, or look for plants that are more tolerant of wet or boggy conditions.



Soil pH

Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil and is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline. 

Weigela grow best in a moderately acid to slightly alkaline soil ranging between 5.5 to 7.5 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. 


How To Test Soil pH 

If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, or whether or not it's suitable for growing Weigela, it's a good idea to test the soil pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe. To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil SulfurAluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions.



Light Preferences

Flowering is best in full to mostly sun though plants will tolerate some light shade, especially in the warmer southern regions where it grows.




How To Plant Weigela In The Ground 

Scroll down for container planting instructions and care tips


Step 1

Start by digging your planting hole at least two to three times as wide and no deeper than the root ball. The wider the hole the better. Place native soil removed from planting hole around the perimeter of the hole, in a wheel barrow, or on a tarp.


Step 2

Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the soil in the planting area you might need to amend the native soil. When planting in dense clay or other compacted or poor soils it is beneficial to thoroughly mix in some bagged top soil, organic compost, or a good planting mix at a 25 to 50% ratio with the soil removed from the planting hole. When planting in very sandy, quick-draining soil mix some top soil, peat moss and/or compost with the native soil to help retain moisture. When planting in moist but well-drained soil of good fertility there is no need for adding a soil amendment.


Step 3

To remove your Weigela from the container it was growing in first squeeze the sides of the pot to loosen the root ball. Then grasp the base of the plant with your finger tips and gently try to remove the root ball from the nursery pot. If the root ball is stuck in the container it's best to use a snipping tool or utility knife to cut the container away. After having removed the plant from the container, carefully loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball. 


Step 4

Set your Weigela plant in the planting hole so that the top edge of the root ball is at or slightly above ground level. If necessary, add some backfill soil mixture to the bottom of the hole to achieve proper planting height. 

Note: If the soil is poorly drained (constantly soggy or wet) improve soil drainage or select another plant species more tolerant of wet soils.  




Step 5

After setting your Weigela in the planting hole, use one hand to hold the plant straight and your other hand to begin back-filling your soil mixture around the root ball, tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue back-filling to the top edge of the root ball. To avoid suffocating your plant, avoid placing any soil on top of the root ball.


Step 6 (Optional)

When planting Weigela in a location that is far from a water source, you can use remaining soil mixture to build a  2 to 3 inch high water retaining berm (catch basin / doughnut) around the outside perimeter of the planting hole. This basin will help to collect water from rainfall and irrigation often reducing the need for hand-watering. The berm can be removed after a growing season or when the plant has established itself.


Step 7 

Next, deeply water the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development you can also water you newly planted Weigela with a solution of Root Stimulator, which reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.


Step 8

To conserve moisture and suppress weed growth, spread a 1 to 2 inch layer of shredded or chipped wood mulch or pine straw around the planting area. As the mulch decomposes it will add vital nutrients to the soil that your plant will appreciate. Avoid the use of freshly chipped or shredded wood for mulch until it has cured in a pile for at least 6 months, a year is better. Avoid placing or piling mulch directly against the base of your plant as this could cause the bark to rot.




How To Plant A Weigela In A Container


Weigela growing in pots appreciate a moist but well-drained soil. Constantly soggy soil can and often will cause root rot or other harmful or deadly plant diseases. Therefore, plant in a pot or other container that has a drainage hole(s) and use a quality potting soil or potting mix, or a 50/50 combination thereof for planting. 

Also choose a container that is large enough to allow for 2 to 3 years of growth before shifting your Weigela to a larger size container. This might mean your planting pot would be 8 inches or more in diameter (width) than the root ball of your plant. 

Container color will matter as well. Not only will you want to pick a color of container that goes well with the flower and foliage color of your Weigela, you'll also want to pick a container that matches the style of your home or other structures and other plants in the surrounding environment. 

Many nursery & garden centers offer a wide variety of containers to choose from. Before heading out to buy a container take pictures of your home and the surrounding environment. Doing so will help you to choose just the right color and style.



Container Planting Instructions


Step 1

Before filling your container with the soil mix, I suggest lining the bottom with shade cloth or a porous landscape fabric. This will keep the drain holes from becoming stopped up with soil and roots. If you use gravel or other materials in the bottom of the container lay the fabric over it.


Step 2

To remove your Weigela from the container it was growing in first squeeze the sides of the pot to loosen the root ball. Then grasp the base of the plant with your finger tips and gently try to remove the root ball from the nursery pot. If the root ball is stuck in the container it's best to use a snipping tool or utility knife to cut the container away. After having removed the plant from the container, carefully loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball. 


Step 3

Pour a small amount of your soil mixture in the bottom of the container. Set your Weigela in the container and make necessary adjustments by adding or removing some soil so that the top edge of the root ball will sit approximately 1inch below the rim of the container.




Step 4

Backfill with your potting soil around root ball, tamping lightly as you go, until the level of potting soil is even with the top edge of root ball.


Step 5

Water thoroughly until water starts to drain from the holes in the bottom of the container. Add more potting mix if settling occurs during watering.


Step 6 (Optional)

To help conserve moisture and for decorative purposes, you can apply a 1/2" layer of pine bark or wood chips to soil surface. 






How To Grow And Care For Weigela 

Feeding - Watering - Pruning

Weigela plants are very easy to care for. Follow the simple tips below and you'll be growing Weigela like the pros!


How To Fertilize Weigela


When established, Weigela are generally light feeders, though benefit from fertilization. 


In The Ground:  Feed Weigela growing in the ground in late winter or early spring with a slow-release shrub & tree food, preferably one containing iron and sulfur for deep greening. Alternatively, you can feed with a natural organic plant food. To avoid stimulating new growth that could be damaged by an early frost, cease fertilization two months prior to the first frost date in your area.

In Pots:  Feed Weigela growing in pots or other containers as directed on the product label with a slow-release granular fertilizer or water soluble liquid plant food listed for use in containers. 



How much fertilizer? 

This will depend of course on the size of the Weigela you are fertilizing and the type of fertilizer. Regarding slow-release shrub and tree fertilizers, you'll find application instructions on the package label. 



Where to spread the fertilizer? 

The root system of a Weigela might grow 12 inches deep or more but the majority of the feeder roots responsible for absorbing nutrients are in the top 6 inches of soil. Spreading fertilizer on the soil surface is sufficient to reach these feeder roots. 

Spread fertilizer evenly around each shrub, beginning a 6 inches from the trunk, and then 6 inches beyond the drip line (branch perimeter) for every 2 feet in plant height. 


Soil pH 

Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil and is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline. 

Weigela grow best in a moderately acid to slightly alkaline soil ranging between 5.5 to 7.5 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. 




How To Water Weigela Plants


Weigela prefer a moist but well-drained soil. They do not like constantly soggy or wet soil conditions, which can lead to root rot and other harmful plant diseases. So be careful not to over-water them!

Note:  When watering with an automated irrigation system it's best to set your timer to water during the early morning hours and not in the late evening or at night, which can lead to the onset of fungus and other foliar diseases. During the first few weeks after planting, check soil moisture often and adjust irrigation time if necessary to keep the soil moist, not wet. 



At Planting Time

Immediately after planting deep soak the soil in the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development you can also water you newly planted Weigela with a solution of Root Stimulator, which reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.


During the First Active Growth Season

In average garden soil you should not have to water your newly planted Weigela every day. More often than not, this causes soggy soil conditions that can lead to root rot and other harmful plant diseases. In the absence of sufficient rainfall, water only as needed to keep the root ball and surrounding soil damp to moist. Keep in mind that deep soaking less frequently, allowing the soil to dry out somewhat before watering again, is much better than splashing just a little water on the plants every day. Weigela planted during the winter dormant season, when they are not actively growing and evaporation is much slower, will require much less water. So, be extra careful not to overwater during winter!


Thereafter

When established, Weigela are moderately drought tolerant. If you see new leaves wilting or the tips of new stems bending over during a prolonged period of dry weather this could be a sign your plants could use a good deep soaking. Check soil moisture and provide water only if necessary.





How To Prune A Weigela 


Weigela do not require pruning however respond well to it for maintenance and shaping purposes. 


Annual Pruning

Because Weigela bloom from buds that were produced on branches the previous year, to avoid removal of buds an annual pruning to shape the plant or to reduce size can be performed immediately after the spring bloom. When pruning Weigela, it's best to remove the entire branch, making your cut at its origin or intersection with another branch. Therefore, be careful to closely inspect a branch to determine whether it's removal will damage the shape of the plant. 


Maintenance Pruning

A stray branch that is spoiling the shape of the plant can be cut back any time of year. It's best to remove the entire branch, making your cut at its origin or intersection with another branch.

Damaged and dead branches or stems should be removed as they occur. Make cut at the origin of the branch.


Rejuvenation Pruning

Weigela flower heaviest on their younger branches that are 3 years old or younger. Therefore, removal of the oldest branches every three years will keep plants young and healthy and blooming heavier in spring. When rejuvenation pruning, remove no more than one-third of the oldest branches, which usually have a diameter of one-half to one inch in diameter. Remove these old branches by cutting them at their base.

Old, neglected Weigela with only large branches over 1 inch in diameter may require a more drastic form of rejuvenation pruning to restore health. In this case, use lopper pruners to cut all branches to 4 inches above the ground.  




Plant Long & Prosper!

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