Old fashioned weigela

Old fashioned weigela, cultivar 'Alexandra, in flower.

Old-fashioned weigela fills gardens with bright tubular flowers in early summer often blooming again as the season progresses. Summer foliage is neat and tidy, relatively disease free.  There are many cultivated varieties available in different sizes and flower colors. 

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

 

Botanical name:

Weigela florida

All Common Names:

Old fashioned weigela, Old-fashioned weigela, Cardinal bush

Family (English):

Bush-Honeysuckle

Family (Botanic):

Diervillaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Foliage:

  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Foundation,
  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet),
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Tolerances:

  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Season of Interest:

  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Pink,
  • Red,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Arching,
  • Round,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Size & form

Variable habit from upright to low and mounded.
Sizes range from 6 to 9 feet high and 9 to 12 feet wide to dwarf forms only 2 to 3 feet high.

Tree & Plant Care

Grow in full sun for best flowering production, but will tolerate part shade with slightly reduced blooms.
Prefers moist, well-drained soil; pH adaptable.
Shallow roots benefit with a layer of mulch.
Water in dry periods.
Flowers on old wood, p
rune after flowering. Annual pruning not necessary.
Older plants can be rejuvenated to the ground to start over.
Deer resistant

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious problems, aphids can be washed off with strong spray of water.
Powdery mildew can occur in wet springs

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite; simple ovate to elliptical leaves with a long tip and short petiole leaf stalk.
Medium green, no significant fall color

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

1 to 2 inch long, tubular to funnel-shaped flowers; rosy pink outside paler pink inside.
Flowers sporadically appear after initial blooming in May-June. Color depends upon cultivar.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Dry capsule; inconspicuous

Cultivars and their differences 

Fine Wine® (Weigela florida 'Bramwell'): A dwarf compact form of Wine & Roses®; 2 to 3 feet high and wide; dark burgundy foliage; pink flowers

Ghost® (Weigela florida 'Carlton'): 4 to 5 feet high; reddish-pink flowers ; light green foliage turns an iridescent buttercream in summer

Midnight Wine® (Weigela florida ‘Elvera’):  Dwarf, mounded form, growing only 18-24” tall and  24-36” wide.  Dark burgundy foliage with rosy-red tubular flowers attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Minuet  (Weigela florida ‘Minuet’):  Grows only 2-3’ tall and wide.  Growth rate is slower than that of the species.  A hardy, compact, dwarf form with dark ruby-red, tubular flowers with lilac-purple lobes and yellow throat.  Flowers are slightly fragrant.  Leaves are dark green and purple-tinged.

My Monet® (Weigela florida 'Verwig'): A form of 'Tango' reaching 12 to 18 inches high with pink, white and green variegated foliage; deep pink flowers

Spilled Wine® (Weigela florida 'Bokraspiwi'): Broad spreading habit, wider than tall; 2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide; dark purple foliage, magenta pink spring flowers. 

Sonic Bloom® Weigela series (Weigela florida) Pearl Sonic Bloom® is white with yellow throat changing to light pink; Pink Sonic Bloom ® is a rich pink; Red Sonic Bloom® is a lipstick red.

Tango (Weigela 'Tango'):  A compact, hardy shrub, 2 to 2 1/2 feet high. Long leaves are predominately purple with green underside that maintains its color throughout the summer. Numerous flowers are red with yellow centers appearing in early spring, lasting 3-4 weeks.

Wine and Roses® (Weigela florida ‘Alexandra’):  Grows  4-6’ tall and wide.  Dark burgundy-purple foliage and intense rosy-to-hot-pink, tubular flowers as high contrast in the spring.  Full sun ensures strongest color.

Location of Weigela florida (Old fashioned weigela) at the Arboretum