Do you have a word that no matter how often you spell it you still spell it wrong? We do - and one of those words that we are always adding a vowel to the end of it - is the flowering shrub Weigela… And as it is one of our favourite shrubs, you think we would be able to get it right!
We can blame the German botanist Christian Ehrenfreid Weigel – for whom the plant is named…. Oh that his name was Smith as we would not keep adding another ‘i’ to the ‘Smitha’ plant… sigh
The first Weigela was ‘discovered’ by European plant folks back in 1845 as plants from Korea, China and Japan slowly made their way to western gardens.
We have always liked the common flowering shrubs as they are easy to grow, they look good when they flower and are a reasonable size in the garden – not too big and not small. The common red-flowered varieties get about 120-150 cm (48-60”) tall with a similar spread. The red flower looks good against the green leaves and there is little special care needed to have these plants look good. Green and white-leaved variegated versions of common Weigela are becoming more common – we like the look of the two-toned leaves, although these types are usually a little less vigorous than the green-leaved plants. An added bonus is that Weigela attracts butterflies and are not too tasty to deer.
The past few years have seen some very nice new versions of the much misspelt (at least by me) Weigela – with new foliage colours and now a group of sexy repeat bloomers available for your garden.
The first important newer plant is a showy variety, Weigela ‘Wine & Roses’, introduced a few years ago by the Proven Winners team. ‘Wine & Roses’ is special due to its amazing dark red foliage (almost a purple colour) that really sets off the rosy pink flowers. ‘Wine & Roses’ will bloom in early summer and in some summers may catch a second group of flowers. The look of this plant is what sets it apart – it is a garden star and we think should be in every garden.
Newer than ‘Wine & Roses’ is the ‘Sonic Bloom’ series – also from the group at PW. Weigela ‘Sonic Bloom’ will flower all summer starting in late spring and going through to frost. With bright green leaves similar to the common Weigela – the new ‘Sonic Bloom’ comes in red, pink and pearl white-flowered versions. This plant will get about the same size as ‘Wine & Roses’ and will be easy to care for.
So lots of great choices – no matter how you spell it……