Weigela (Weigela florida)
Weigelas [why-GEEL-yas], originally from China, have long been favorites in American yards and gardens. The several kinds of this showy flowering shrub all produce copious blooms in the late spring or early summer and are virtually pest free. Old fashioned Weigelas and forms developed from it are the most commonly planted weigelas. Spectacular while in bloom, the rest of the season they are ordinary, blending into the green landscape, and serving as backdrops for other plants. Deciduous shrubs, they lose their leaves in the fall. Weigelas are also pollution resistant.
Size: Most weigelas grow to 7 or 8 feet, although there are dwarf forms that grow to only 4 or 5 feet. Their loosely branching habit causes them to spread nearly as wide as they are tall. They are rapid growers, their woody branches becoming somewhat coarse and stiffly rangy if they are not pruned.
Foliage: Weigela leaves grow opposite each other along the stems. They are narrowly oval, 2 to 4 inches long with saw-toothed edges and pointed tips. Their veins are obvious in the medium to dark green leaf surface. Leaf undersides are paler, showing hairs along the veins. Some kinds of weigela shrubs have variegated leaves of green with white or gold edges. Although most weigelas do not have autumn color, one or two varieties turn a reddish color before leaf drop in the fall.
Flowers and Fruit: Trumpet shaped weigela flowers about 1 inch long grow singly or in short clusters along the branches of previous year's growth. They appear in late May or early June in the East and Northwest, earlier in California. Some types bloom a bit earlier, when the common lilacs in the area do. Nestled among the foliage, the flowers may be deep pink, red, white or rose, and rarely, yellow, depending on the weigela variety. The flowers last only 10 to 14 days and then produce an inconspicuous brown capsule-like seed. Sometimes there is intermittent flowering near the end of the summer and into fall.
There are many choices among weigelas. Among them: `Java Red' is smaller than typical, has dark red flowers; `Bristol Snowflake' has whitish-pink flowers; `Variegata' has foliage bordered in yellow and pink flowers; `Conquerant' has largest flowers, rose colored; `Floreal' blooms early, has purplish-pink blooms; `Venusta' is the hardiest of all. `Eva Suprema' tolerates partial shade well.
For more information see file on Selecting Shrubs.