In springtime, blooming Weigelas are common at the edges of lawns and near walkways. This pretty pink shrub is a member of the honeysuckle family and is native to Asia. Although it is a reasonably hardy plant, Weigela problems can progressively worsen until the plant is bare and dead looking.
To save a dead-looking Weigela, determine if the problem is twig blight, root rot, frost damage, or pests. These problems can be fixed with fungicides, insecticides, pruning any damaged areas, and improving the soil drainage around your plant.
Let’s look at each of these issues and how to fix them.
How To Save a Dying Weigela
Weigela naturally loses its leaves in winter, so you must first rule out that this isn’t the cause. The issue may be more serious if winter isn’t to blame for dying leaves and bare branches. Weigelas are commonly affected by twig blight, root rot, frost damage, and pests.
Twig blight is a fungal disease that causes the tips of Weigela branches to turn brown. The fungus then spreads to the entire branch, then the whole shrub. If left unchecked, twig blight will kill the plant.
The best way to stop twig blight in its tracks is to spray your Weigela with a fungicide. A lime sulfur fungicide or copper fungicide should be used at the first sign of disease. Increasing airflow will also help reduce the spread of the fungus. As a last resort, you may need to prune infected branches.
How Hard Can I Cut Back Weigela?
Before you do any pruning, make sure you sterilize your pruning shears. This will prevent the spread of any fungus or bacteria to healthy areas of your Weigela.
Older branches are more susceptible to disease, so it’s best to cut back older branches when you prune. Go for branches that are woody in texture and more than 1.5 inches (4 cm) thick. Don’t trim more than one-third of the bush at once.
Weigelas like moist soil, but it must be well-draining. If the roots remain in soggy soil, they will start to get attacked by soil-dwelling fungi. Rotten roots will affect the shrub by causing yellow, wilting, and dead foliage.
Not only will root rot affect the foliage, but it will also affect the structure of the plant. Without healthy roots to ground the shrub, the shrub will be at risk of falling over.
The best way to save your Weigela from root rot is to improve drainage around the shrub. Remove any mulch or dead vegetation that may retain moisture. To improve drainage, you can also add mediums like perlite and peat moss to the soil. You also might consider digging up and moving your Weigela shrub away from other plants if the soil is too waterlogged.
After a harsh winter, you might notice the leaves on some of your Weigela branches have not returned in the spring. There may even be fewer or no blooms. This is often due to frost damage. You can tell a stem is dead if there is no green growth below the bark.
To stimulate growth, you can prune back any dead branches you notice after winter. It’s best to cut branches close to the base of the shrub.
How Do You Winterize Weigela?
Weigela is a cold hardy shrub, but there are still steps you can take to prepare your plant for winter. You should water the ground heavily in the fall, so the soil is moist when the frost comes. You don’t need to cover your shrub, but you can lay down mulch to provide your Weigela with nutrients throughout the winter.
Pests feed on the leaves and flowers of the Weigela plant, causing damage and also spreading disease. Here are some of the most common pests that affect this shrub.
- Aphids: can be found on the underside of leaves. They attract ants to the plant by leaving behind a sticky residue. They also damage the leaves and spread disease.
- Mealybugs: are one of the most common pests on indoor and outdoor plants. They suck sap from the leaves and leave behind a cotton-like residue. Leaves affected by mealybugs often turn yellow and curl.
- Japanese beetles: these pests live in the soil in fall and winter and emerge to feast on plants in the spring. They leave large holes in leaves, making them susceptible to sunburn and disease.
For many pests, it’s possible to simply knock them off the plant with water from the hose. But if the infestation is beyond these measures, you’ll need to apply an insecticide. Organic insecticides like neem oil are popular and work on most common pests.
How Long Does Weigela Live?
Weigelas are easy to care for and don’t require much to continue blooming year after year. A well-cared-for Weigela can live anywhere from 30-40 years. This plant grows quickly, too, so regular pruning is required to prevent your Weigela from taking over your yard!
How Big Do Weigela Bushes Get?
Weigelas tend to grow upright and outward in a round arching shape. Since this plant lives for so long, there is a wide range of sizes. There are also many different varieties of Weigela, and even some dwarf cultivars such as “My Monet Sunset.”
Weigela bushes generally grow anywhere from 12 inches (30 cm) to 10 feet (3 m) tall. They get anywhere from 18 inches (45 cm) to 12 feet (3.5 m) wide!
Can Weigela Be Moved?
After your Weigela has gotten through a few springs, you might realize it’s outgrown its spot in your yard. When shrubs are planted too close together, they can become stressed, and this makes them susceptible to disease.
Luckily, Weigela can be transplanted quite easily. It would be best if you transplanted Weigela in the fall to avoid shocking the plant. You’ll have to dig up the entire root system and prune it if necessary to fit in its new location. You can also divide up the roots and propagate your Weigela shrub at this time.
What is the Best Fertilizer for Weigela?
Weigela does best with a slow-release fertilizer. Weigela only needs to be fertilized once a year, so a slow-release fertilizer will ensure the plant gets all the nutrients it needs during its growing season.
The best time to fertilize Weigela is in the spring before new buds appear. This will give the plant a boost of nutrients to produce more flowers. Apply the fertilizer at the base of the Weigela. Give the soil surrounding the shrub a good drink afterward to help the fertilizer spread to the roots. If you don’t water the plant after applying fertilizer, the salt in the fertilizer may burn the roots.
Does Weigela Bloom All Summer?
In early spring, Weigela shrubs will begin to grow green leaves. Buds will start to appear after the foliage has filled out. Flowers open anywhere between May and June. They die around mid-summer, after which new flower buds are produced for the following spring.
Weigela does not bloom continuously all summer, but it has long-lasting blooms!
If your yard needs a pop of color, Weigela is a great low-maintenance flowering shrub. It drops its leaves and flowers in the winter, giving off a scraggly appearance before reblooming in spring. But something is likely wrong if your plant looks like it is dying outside of the winter months.
Root rot is a common issue with Weigela that can be treated by improving soil drainage. If pests have ravaged your shrub, you’ll need to apply insecticide. Diseases like twig blight, though uncommon, can affect Weigela and can only be treated with fungicide. And if your plant has been damaged by a cold winter, you must prune your shrub to promote new growth.
By being proactive, you can ensure the longevity of this hardy and beautiful shrub.