The Old Fashioned Weigela

Weigela are undemanding, easy to care for and most varieties bloom tirelessly from May until the first frost. Here we introduce the popular flowering shrubs and give tips on planting and care.

Jan 18, 2021 08:42 pm
readtime icon 7 Minutes
Growth type
  • Small shrub
Growth height (from)
from 250 cm to 300 cm
Growth width (from)
from 250 cm to 350 cm
Growth characteristics
  • upright
  • overhanging
Flower color
  • pink
  • white
Flowering time (month)
  • May to June
Flower shape
  • Uniflorous
  • Funnel
Leaf color
  • green
page format
  • elliptiques
  • pointed
  • sunny to scattered light
Soil type
  • sandy to clayey
Soil Moisture
  • fresh to humid
ph value
  • weakly alkaline to acidic
Lime compatibility
  • lime-tolerant
Nutrient requirements
  • nutrient-rich
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower Decoration
  • Nectar or pollen plant
  • non-toxic
Winter Hardness
  • hardy
  • Single position
  • Group planting
  • high-stem
  • Rose companion
  • privacy screen
Garden style
  • cottage garden
  • Flower garden
  • Park area
  • Rose Garden
Bee Friendly
bee friendly plant

The Old Fashioned Weigela (Weigela florida) originally comes from East Asia. They are found in east China, Manchuria, Korea and Japan. The honeysuckle has been cultivated as an extremely robust and flowering ornamental shrub in European gardens since the middle of the 19th century. In addition to the wild species, various hybrids are available from specialist nurseries. They originated in England, Germany and the USA by cross breeding the lovely Weigela with other East Asian Weigela species.


The Old Fashioned Weigela is about 118.11 to 137.79 inches high and just as wide. It grows upright and somewhat sparsely with long overhanging flower stems. The young twigs have light brown bark, the older ones are gray-brown and have prominent cork cells.


The deciduous leaves are arranged opposite one another and are short to sessile. They are elliptical in shape with a long tip and serrated leaf edge. The undersides of the leaves are slightly hairy. The leaves adhere to the shoots for a long time in fall. The leaves either show no fall colors, or weak greenish yellow color.


The flowers of the lovely Weigela are white to pale pink in color and have a somewhat stronger shade of pink as they fade. The calyx- to funnel-shaped single flowers are 0.78 to 1.18 inches long and stand individually or in groups in the leaf axils of the previous year's shoots. They open from late April/early May and last until mid-June. From July till the first frost, there are occasional re-blooms, as the newly created flower buds sometimes open prematurely.

Location and Soil

The Old Fashioned Weigela is extremely adaptable: It prefers to grow in full sun, but it can also cope with shaded to partially shaded locations, where it blooms much less frequently. Fresh to moist, nutrient- and humus-rich soil in the acidic to weakly alkaline range is ideal. Basically, however, the Weigela tolerates all garden soils as long as they are neither very dry nor compact and waterlogged.

Planting and Care

The Old Fashioned Weigela is very robust and grows easily, so you do not have to take special precautions when planting, nor do you have to adhere to a specific planting time. Shrubs in containers can be planted all year round - even in midsummer, provided they are thoroughly watered for several weeks. Like most shrubs, Weigelas also like a mulched soil because they have very shallow roots. For this reason, avoid tilling in the root area if possible. A regular supply of nutrients in spring promotes growth and is particularly recommended after pruning. Two to three liters of ripe compost for each shrub suffices as a nutrient supply. Special frost protection measures are not required for Weigela. The robust, hardy shrubs can cope with very low temperatures.

Weigela “Bristol Ruby”
Because of its large ruby red flowers, Rub Bristol Ruby ’is one of the most popular garden hybrids of the Weigela

Weigela are inherently not long-living and tend to age fast. This means that older branches exhibit sluggish flowering over time and hardly grow. You can rejuvenate the shrubs by pruning it immediately after flowering — you need to do this every three years. Then cut off the oldest branches near the ground and then pull them out of the shrub to thin out the plants. If from an old branch, a strong young shoot branches off above the ground, you can also cut the branch just above this side branch.

Where to plant in the garden

Weigelas are easy-care, robust and at the same time artistic flowering shrubs - they open their buds with the first wave of titleForsythia, ornamental cherry and and bloom at about the same time as lilac and laburnum. Weigelas are planted individually or in small groups, but they can also be easily be a part of free-growing flower hedges. The shrubs can be planted under with a wide variety of flowering perennials and ground cover such as geraniums, foam flowers (Tiarella), hostas or avens root (Geum).


Two varieties of the Old Fashioned Weigela are sold in gardening shops.

“Purpurea”: red leaves, 39.37 to 59.05 inches high, dark pink leaves

“Victoria”: Dwarf form, 0.8 to 1 meter high, bronze colored leaves, dark red shoots, crimson flowers

A variety of garden hybrids are also available. These are varieties that are the result of crossing the Old Fashioned Weigela with other Weigela species. Like the Old Fashioned Weigela, they all have a more or less continuous second bloom after the main bloom is over.

“Bristol Ruby”: up to three meters high, vigorous and richly flowering garden hybrids with large ruby-red flowers and flowering period from mid-May

“Eva Rathke”: up to 3.28 feet high, large, garnet-red flowers, late and long main flowering from June to August

“Nana Variegata”: up to 5.90 feet high, yellow-edged leaves with high ornamental value, relatively small, white-pink flowers from mid-May

“Newport Red”: up to 9.84 feet high and wide, medium-sized carmine-red flowers from mid-May

“Styriaca”: up to 8.2 feet high, short, wide-open pink calyxes from the beginning of May, darkening as they fade

The foliage of the Weigela ub Purpurea ’is initially brown-red, but becomes greener as the gardening season progresses (left). The hybrid “Nana Variegata”, on the other hand, has variegated leaves (right)


All Weigelas can be easily propagated by cuttings in summer. The new, slightly woody shoots are used for this. In fall, it is also possible to propagate by hardwood cuttings once the leaves have fallen. For this you should use as long and vigorous, woody shoots as far as possible.

Diseases and Pests

Weigelas are highly resistant to diseases and pests. Occasionally fungal leaf spot diseases can occur, but these usually do not cause any major damage. Young plants of the “Bristol Ruby” variety are also somewhat susceptible to nematodes.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the Weigela sprout?

Weigela sprout in spring.

When does the Weigela bloom?

Weigela blooms in late April/early May and lasts until mid-June. From July there may be occasional re-blooms.

How large does the Weigela get?

Weigela can grow up to11.48 feet high and just as wide.

When to prune the Weigela?

Weigela are usually pruned every three years right after flowering. The first cut is made in the first year so that they branch out well.