Cutting weigela for concentrated flower power - tutorial for masterful cutting

Cutting weigela for concentrated flower power - tutorial for masterful cutting

Pruning care keeps Weigelie happy and blooming - pruning styles with deadlines

In the cultivation of Weigelia, joy and sorrow are closely related. After just a few years of lavish blooms, the first signs of age appear in the form of a decline in abundance of flowers. The previously upright shoots bend towards the ground, so that the entire shrub falls apart and loses its compact stature. At this time, a dense network of old, heavily ramified and young shoots formed inside the bush, which is only reminiscent of the opulence of the early years.

also read

  • Is the weigela poisonous?
  • Help, my weigela is not blooming!
  • Is the weigela hardy?

It doesn't have to come to that. The decisive factor in a wasteful flowering period is pruning, provided it is done regularly and at the right time. Weigelia create the buds for the main flowering period in early summer in the previous year . The second bloom unfolds on this year's short shoots , which arise from the perennial wood. Although it appears that way, the bushes are not blooming on their long and ground shoots this year. If you pay special attention to idiosyncratic growth, you can't go wrong. The following table summarizes all types of cuts with information on the best date for you:

Cut typeGoal / occasionbest datealternative date
Plant pruningdense branching at the baseimmediately after plantingFebruary / March of the following year
Body sectionRaise stable shrubberyFebruary in the 2nd and 3rd yearnone
TopiaryMaintain willingness to bloom, encourage re-bloomingafter the main flowering period in JulyFebruary March
Care cutPrevent self-sowing, preserve well-groomed appearancefollowing the second bloomnone
Clearance cutRemove dead wood and unfavorable shoots, continuous rejuvenationfrom the 4th year in late winter to the beginning of Marchnone
Taper cutRevitalize aged weigelabetween November and the end of Februarynone
Cut back when changing locationCompensation for lost root massbetween November and February

The list of cut types does not imply that all types of cut are necessarily suitable for your weigela. The following instructions for the thinning cut contain specific measures for continuous rejuvenation. Follow this recommendation to effectively prevent premature aging so that a rejuvenation cut is not necessary. If self-sowing in the bed is desired or if you do not feel disturbed by individual shoots protruding from the shape, you can also delete the late summer pruning without replacement.

Plant pruning - this is how you get the branches going

Cost-conscious home gardeners purchase weigela as bare-root goods or use the cheapest price range for container goods. In the best case, the young plants have three main shoots with a length of 60 to 100 centimeters. Gardeners who are familiar with the effects of pruning cannot be irritated by the meager appearance. With this pattern you can get the branches going:

  • The best date is after planting in autumn
  • Alternatively, make up for the pruning by the end of February
  • Cut back all shoots in half, as illustrated below
  • Ideally cut a few millimeters above a pair of buds or leaf knots
  • Cut off damaged roots from bare-root young shrubs

There is no doubt that pruning weigelia at the expense of the first flowering period. In return, lively branching sets in at the base of the bush with a long-term effect. The reward for doing without is a bushy flowering bush into the old Weigelia.

Cut weigela


Plant pruning takes advantage of growth law

You are wondering why the reaction of a weigela to the pruning can be reliably predicted? The prognosis is based on the knowledge that sap pressure regulates growth. Like all plants, the Weigela strives purposefully in the direction of the light. In order to reach the goal as quickly as possible, it pumps most of its reserve substances into the tip of the bud. The process can be recognized by the fact that the shrub grows disproportionately at the highest point. Since this growth behavior is common in the plant kingdom, botanists have developed the growth law of peak promotion from it. By removing the top buds of the young shoots by pruning, the lower buds benefit from the excess sap flow and sprout vigorously.

It blooms splendidly on the sturdy scaffolding - assembly cut instructions

Weigelia naturally develop a framework of strong ground shoots that remain vital and blooming for up to seven years. For a variety of reasons it makes sense to limit the number of scaffold drives. For a compact habitus in a small garden, as part of a mixed hedge or in a bucket, the following construction cut has proven itself in practice:

  • The best time is in February of the second and third year
  • Select the strongest 7 to 12 ground shoots
  • Cut off the remaining ground shoots at the base

Since the transition to the shape and maintenance cut is fluid, you can supplement the cut care in the construction phase in summer. If you cut off withered clusters of flowers, many varieties will have a pretty second bloom in autumn.

Topiary clears the way for the second bloom

Weigelias finish their main flowering between late June and mid-July, close to St. John's Day. If the scissors are used at this stage, you will pave the way for a decorative second bloom and bring the shrub into shape. In addition, they encourage vital budding of young branches that will bear numerous flowers in the next year. How to cut properly:

  • The best date is close to St. John's Day (June 24th) at the latest at the end of the first flowering period
  • Before starting the pruning measure, examine the bush for nesting birds
  • If necessary, postpone the date until the breeding business has ended
  • Cut off withered flowers until the next healthy pair of leaves
  • Shorten shoots that are too long in the area of ​​this year's growth by a maximum of a third

As the illustration below shows, the summer pruning is concentrated on the outer shrub areas so that a weigela retains its well-groomed appearance.

Cut the weigela into shape

Please limit the summer topiary to the faded branches and this year's growth, which is too long. The supplementary thinning and continuous rejuvenation are integrated into the summer cut in numerous cutting instructions. Out of consideration for nesting birds , radical interventions in growth should be avoided . Native species of birds such as bullfinches and blackbirds prefer to set up their kindergarten with dense foliage from Weigela. In the late winter, the ornamental wood from the Far East can cope with a clearing cut anyway better than in the middle of the growing season.


Radical cuts on woody trees are only permitted in winter

Dense foliage, countless flowers and the resulting fruits not only make weigela a popular nesting place for birds. Extensive cutting measures, such as thinning out dead wood or putting it on the stick, are taboo in summer. The Federal Nature Conservation Act protects our bird life and sets strict regulations. From March 1st to September 30th, light maintenance cuts are permitted, provided there are no nesting places within the bushes. The legislature allows radical cuts from October 1st to February 28th, provided that no wild animals are disturbed.

Care cut - beneficial in two ways

Following the summer maintenance pruning, numerous Weigelia varieties surprise with a beautiful second bloom in late summer. If you clean up the withered flowers promptly, the wood does not invest valuable energy in the growth of seed heads. On this occasion, cheeky shoots can be cut back into the shrub shape. A moderate maintenance cut at the end of the season is therefore beneficial in two ways. Here's how to do it properly:

  • Cut off the withered flowers above the next pair of leaves
  • Cut back individual shoots protruding from the shrub to just above a pair of leaves or eyes

When making the pruning, take into account that your weigela has already created buds for next year's flowering . Limit the pruning to the withered flowers and individual, inconveniently positioned shoot tips. In the near-natural garden, the gardener refrains from cleaning withered flowers so that feathered gardeners can feast on the berries.

The clearance section has continuous tapering in view

With the beginning of the third or fourth year of standing, the vitality of scaffolding shoots decreases. At the same time, dead or poorly positioned branches accumulate in the bush. Reason enough to subject the weigela to a clearing cut. Ideally, the starting signal for continuous rejuvenation is given at the same time , which prevents premature aging. How to do it right:

  • The best time is in February
  • Thin out dead shoots at the base
  • Cut out criss-cross, inward-facing, or poor branches
  • Cut off the weaker specimen from branches that are too close together
  • Cut off the two oldest scaffolding shoots at floor level

To maintain the scaffolding structure, select the two strongest ground shoots to replace the thinned scaffold shoots. With a cut back by a third or half, you initiate vital branching in the young wood, similar to the plant cut in the first year. All other ground shoots must give way. As the illustration below demonstrates, in later years you should dedicate yourself to the aging of the shoot tips when cutting out the thinning. The affected branches can be diverted to an unbranched side shoot positioned further down.

Thinning out Weigela


Lead cut - the simple and effective cutting technique

A common symptom of premature aging on ground shoots is a broom-like shoot tip that bends to the ground under its load. If several scaffold shoots are affected, the shrub falls apart and reveals a clear center. If you cut off the broom heads, there will be gaps that will only slowly close. A drain cut acts as a local taper and does not leave any holes in the appearance. The cutting technique is very simple. Examine the affected ground shoot for a young side shoot below. Where both shoots fork, cut off the unwanted wood 5 to 8 millimeters behind the branch. From now on, the young side shoot takes over the dominant position without the cutting measure being visible.

Taper cut eliminates cutting errors

Without a continuous rejuvenation in connection with the clearing cut, your weigela is only a shadow of itself after a few years. That is no reason to clear the picturesque flowering bush. Since the Asian ornamental trees sprout from old wood, a radical cut promises the prospect of a new construction. How to put an old weigela on the stick:

  • The best time is on a frost-free day between the end of November and the end of February
  • Cut off previously dead scaffold shoots at the base
  • Saw off remaining, overaged ground shoots to 5 to 10 centimeters
  • Fertilize the root disc with 3 liters of compost and 100 grams of horn shavings

If ground shoots were not trimmed to 5 to 10 centimeters in previous years, unsightly heads with tightly entwined whorls of branches often form, as illustrated in the figure below. You can correct the cutting error step by step. In the first step, cut off all the shoots just above the head. Only cut the stump at the base in the following year. At the same time, you encourage young soil shoots to build a new framework from them.

Rejuvenate weigela


Special cutting tool takes on branch whiskers

Gardeners are well equipped with one-handed secateurs for the initial pruning of weigelia. The decision between bypass and anvil mechanics is based on individual premises. Choosing the right tool becomes trickier when an old, densely branched weigela has to be thinned out. The intertwined knuckles of knots, which hardly offer any starting points for the cut, even for Japanese saws, cause headaches. As a problem solver, special two-handed shrub shears (€ 62.33 at Amazon *) come into focus with a rotatable cutting head that takes branches up to 4 centimeters in diameter. The handles are spread out far away from the cutting head, which makes it possible to maneuver in the thickest of branches. The ARS pruning shears are available from specialist retailers at a purchase price of around 100 euros.

Raising Weigelie as a high trunk - this is how it works

Magnificent tall weigelia trunks from specialist retailers are mostly crowns that have been refined on a trunk and have their price. Furthermore, cut tolerance and growth behavior allow a young plant to be raised from the bottom up into an elegant tall trunk. A weigela with a strong, 60 to 150 centimeter long central shoot is equipped with the best conditions. How to master the upbringing cut with flying colors:

  • Tie the central drive to a support rod with soft hose ties
  • Cut off competing ground shoots at the base
  • Remove side branches from the central drive
  • Parallel to the increase in height, slide the central shoot up the stick

When the central shoot has reached the desired stem height, start the formation of the crown. For this purpose, count four to five eyes in the direction of the shoot tip from the desired crown height. If you cut off the tip of the shoot just above the fifth eye, the branches will begin. You assign the task of guiding branch to the five strongest shoots. All other side shoots along the trunk are removed.

Attentive readers of this tutorial will not have missed the fact that the growth law of top funding is once again important for the successful upbringing of the tall tribe. As long as the top bud is enthroned on the central shoot, you can rely on rapid growth in height. Simultaneously with the removal of the tip buds, the excess sap pressure flows into the lower-lying buds and the crown branching begins. Do not cap the tip until you are absolutely sure that no further growth is desired. A subsequent trunk extension is rarely successful.

Special use for the scissors - transplant old weigela

Weigela are the ideal ornamental trees for gardeners who like to redesign their green realm. The shrubs forgive a change of location even at an advanced age. The most important prerequisites are the right time and a strong pruning. This is how pruning supports rooting after transplanting:

  • The best time is between November and February
  • Before starting transplanting, cut back all shoots by half
  • Then dig up weigela and plant in the new location

There is no question that you will have to forego the first flowering period after pruning. In connection with a change of location, however, so much root mass is lost that your weigela would not have the strength to develop flowers anyway. A cut restores the balance between above-ground and underground growth.

frequently asked Questions

Is a weigela shrub poisonous?

The breathtakingly beautiful trumpet flowers of a weigela are perfect for the family garden. No part of the plant contains toxic ingredients. This applies equally to flowers, leaves and berries. Should a toddler nibble curiously from the flowers or fruits, there are no health problems to fear. Because of the disgusting taste, it remains a one-time tasting anyway. As a result, no special precautions need to be taken for horticultural maintenance work.

I intend to incorporate the weigela 'Bristol Ruby' into a mixed hedge. How should the planting distance be measured so that an opaque hedge is formed? Can I keep the weigela thinner than the normal width of 150 to 200 centimeters by cutting measures?

If the weigela is used as part of a mixed hedge, a planting distance of 100 centimeters is considered appropriate. The excellent pruning tolerance of the plant makes it easy to limit the width to a slim 100 centimeters. The recommended date for the topiary is after flowering, ideally near St. John's Day, June 24th. Ideally, you should do the hedge clearing in late winter.

Can I still trim my weigela 'Bristol Ruby' at the beginning of March? If so, what should you watch out for when editing?

The best time to topiary Weigela is after the flowering period. Alternatively, you can cut back the flowering shrub in early spring. This choice of date goes hand in hand with the failure of this year's flowers. Weigelias plant their buds in the previous year. Only a small second bloom appears on this year's wood. If you prune now at the beginning of March, thin out the oldest shoots so that young, blooming wood can develop. If the shrub grows too high, it tends to grow thin and bare. Cut branches that are too long back in half to start strong branching.

My dwarf Weiglie 'Purpurrea' is in the bucket on the terrace. When and how much can I prune the shrub?

It is your individual decision how much you cut back the length of the shoots. Ideally, combine pruning with the simultaneous removal of dead branches. The best time is after the flowering period. In principle, pruning a dwarf weigela is possible throughout the summer. An appointment in the spring to March 1 or autumn from October 1 is at the expense of the abundance of flowers and is primarily reserved for clearing dead wood or a rejuvenation cut.

The 3 most common mistakes

When gardeners struggle with a bulky, balding, flowerless weigela, they are the victims of a cutting error. The following table draws attention to the 3 most common mistakes:

Cutting errorsDamageprevention
Shoots cut back in springFailure of this year's heydayTopiary always after the flowering period, thinning out in February
old scaffolding shoots sawed off at knee heightFormation of thick heads with dense, blossomless whorls of branchesClear the scaffolding drives at floor level
no plant pruning carried outbare, sparsely branched growth in the lower part of the shrubafter planting, cut back all shoots by half


An organic nutrient supply completes the pruning care of Weigelia. Pamper the beauty of the flowers in March and June with ripe compost and horn shavings. (€ 6.39 at Amazon *) Carefully rake in the fertilizer so as not to damage the shallow root. Add plenty of water. A high-potassium fertilizer, such as comfrey manure or Thomaskali, is beneficial for winter hardiness.