One of the joys of being a garden center owner is that I get to see all the cool new plants that come out each year. I’ve noticed, over the years, that plant breeders have a bit of a crowd mentality. They tend to put their efforts into breeding whatever the current fad seems to be. A few years ago perennial breeders went crazy with daylilies (hemerocallis), then it was coneflowers (echinacea), and then Coral Bells (heuchera).
With shrub breeders there have been fads of ninebark, weigela, and now it seems to be hydrangea that is getting all the attention with several new varieties being introduced every year.As time goes on I am going to treat each of these in more detail, but today I will focus on one the least well know of these genus- weigela.
Weigela Wine & Roses
First things first. How the heck do you pronounce weigela? Well, everyone seems to have their own version, but according the the Sunset Western Garden Book the correct pronunciation is W-eye-jee-luh. This genus contains many different species, mostly native to asia, with many of the new varieties hybrids of florida and one or more other species. Here are some of my personal favorites.
Wine & Roses®
Developed in Holland, Wine & Roses is wildly popular in Europe and was introduced to the U.S. by the folks at Proven Winners a few years ago. It has become a best seller at the garden center. The dark reddish foliage contrasts beautifully with the innumerable rosy-pink flowers in June, making for a real showstopper. It re-blooms sporadically throughout the summer. And hummingbirds love the trumpet-like flowers! Wine and Roses® grows vigorously in full sun to partial shade and is hardy to -30 degrees.
Weigela Sonc Bloom Red
Sonic Bloom™ Red
Brand new for 2013, I have fallen in love with this new weigela. The lipstick red flowers are remarkable enough, but a burst of flowers in June followed by waves of rebloom until frost make it a must-have for my yard. And they say deadheading is not needed to keep it blooming. This is a large grower (to 6 feet) so give it room. Be the first in your neighborhood to have this great new plant.
Weigela Magical Fantasy
The pure white leaf margins on this plant provide wonderful contrast to the green leaves, and the profuse soft pink flowers are a spring/summer bonus. Grows 3-4 ft. tall and wide. Hardy to -30 degrees. Prune any winter damage out in early spring and it will reflush with fresh new foliage.
Weigela Rainbow Sensation
This charming selection gives all season color. Before the flowers appear, Rainbow Sensation will brighten your garden with its attractive, variegated foliage. Then dense clusters of soft- pink, funnel-shaped flowers bloom in profusion in June, as hummingbirds flock to harvest the sweet nectar. This compact shrub provides a rainbow of color, and the stems can be cut for flower arrangements. Grow 3-4 feet high and wide. Hardy to -30 degrees.
They’re Blooming Now!
I took these two pictures this morning of some weigelas blooming in my neighborhood. The pink one was in the home when they moved in over 12 years ago so they aren’t sure, but they think it is Minuet, and I tend to agree. The red one they purchased several years ago from Town & Country. It is Red Prince. Welcome to the Wonderful World of Weigelas!
Minuet Weigela 6/24/2013
Red Prince Weigela- 6/24/2013