Few shrubs have seen such dramatic improvements in the past decade as weigelas. What were previously dismissed as ho- hum, one-season wonders have magically morphed into delightful forms that offer colorful foliage, a variety of flower colors, compact growth, and repeat blooming. Profuse display of inch-long, funnel-shaped flowers occurs in spring. Use these Asian natives in mixed borders or in sweeps.
W. florida. Fast growth to 610 ft. tall, 912 ft. wide, with branches often arching to the ground. Leaves 2412 in. long. Pink to rose-red flowers. The following three selections grow about 6 ft. high and wide: 'Bristol Snowflake', white flowers opening from pinkish buds; 'Java Red', red-tinted foliage, red buds opening to deep pink flowers; 'Pink Princess', lilac-pink flowers. 'Wine and Roses' ('Alexandra'), to 5 ft. tall and wide, has deep purple new leaves highlighted by bright pink flowers; foliage matures to purplish green, then turns blackish purple in autumn. 'Midnight Wine' is similar but dwarf, to just 2 ft. tall and wide. 'My Monet', just 1218 in. tall and wide, has pink flowers and variegated leaves combining pink, cream, and green. The flowers of 'Versicolor' open white and then age to pink and red.
W. hybrids. These are hybrids involving W. florida, the early-flowering species W. praecox, and other species.
'Briant Rubidor'. A sport of 'Bristol Ruby' with yellow foliage. To 6 ft. high and wide.
'Bristol Ruby'. To 67 ft. tall and nearly as wide, with ruby-red flowers. Some repeat bloom in midsummer and fall.
'Candida'. To 5 ft. tall and wide; white flowers that are tinged with green.
'Carnaval'. Dense growth to 35 ft. tall and wide, with flowers in white and shades of pink and red; may rebloom in mid-to late summer.
'Dark Horse'. Compact grower to just 23 ft. tall and wide. Dark purple leaves keep their color all season and contrast nicely with the profuse pink blooms.
'Florida Variegata'. Compact growth to 46 ft. tall and wide, with leaves edged in creamy yellow to white. Deep rosy red flowers. 'Nana Variegata' is 3 ft. tall and wide.
'French Lace'. Mid-green leaves have wide, irregular yellow margins; good orange to red fall color. Flowers are scarlet-red. To 6 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide.
'Lucifer'. Compact growth to 35 ft. high and wide. Dark green leaves and extra-large deep red flowers.
'Minuet'. Dwarf selection to 3 ft. tall, 5 ft. wide. Purplish leaves. Flowers blend red, purple, and yellow.
'Newport Red'. To 6 ft. tall and wide, with bright red flowers. Young stems are bright green in winter.
'Red Prince'. To 56 ft. tall and wide, with red flowers, some summer rebloom.
Sonic Bloom series. Heavy bloom in spring, with repeated flushes of flowers until frost. Available in lipstick-red, hot pink, and pink-flushed white. Compact growth to 45 ft. tall and wide.
Provide moderately fertile, well-drained soil for best growth. Larger selections can become rangy with time if not pruned. After flowering, cut back stems that bloomed to side shoots that didn't bloom. Cut some of the oldest, woodiest stems to the ground; vigorous new growth will quickly replace them. Compact selections need only occasional pruning. Spring-blooming types will flower again the following spring. Repeat bloomers will flower again that same year in summer.