Weigela is a genus of very pretty, flowering shrubs all of which are native to the woodlands of eastern Asia. Discovered by a German scientist called Christian Ehrenfried von Weigel, Weigela were first imported to western Europe and namely Great Britain in the mid-19th century, thereafter as Japan and other close nations subsequently opened up to foreigners they began to be more widely searched by botanists and other explorers and many more Weigela species were found. There are 2 national collections of Weigela, one in Britain in Sheffield and one in Germany in Buckow.
These attractive deciduous shrubs are much admired for their colourful clusters of tubular flowers, usually in shades of white, pink or red and very occasionally yellow, which appear from May to July, sometimes flowering again later in the season. Weigela florida or Weigela rosea, as it is sometimes known, is one of the most important of the species with numerous cultivars and is a popular variety with soft rose pink foxglove shaped flowers. Another favoured species is Weigela Bristol Ruby with its sparkling rich ruby-red flowers but these are only two among the many species and hybrids available.
Weigela are brilliant as back of border shrubs or even as an informal hedge since they are easy to grow in most soils in sun or partial shade and will even tolerate a certain amount of pollution so are good in urban situations. As hedging Weigela will grow to heights from 120-200cm at a rate of about 30-40cm per year and we would recommend 3-4 plants per metre to give enough cover.
Much work is still going on between plant breeders to develop more and more cultivars of different colour foliage and blossom as well as size, since for a plant that at one point went out of fashion it is becoming ever more sought after to enhance the garden.