The Q&A Archives: Variegated Dwarf Weigela

Question: My variegated dwarf weigelas are almost 1 season old and are only 1ft. tall by 1ft. wide.How long until they are 3ft. tall and how much do I trim them in the fall.

Answer: Weigela florida 'Variegata Nana' should not be trimmed in the fall. The reason for this is that it blooms on growth made the previous year. If you trim in fall you will be removing flowering wood for next spring. Consequently, the best time to trim weigela is right after it blooms.

Young plants should not require much trimming in any case. After a few years you may want to thin the plant a bit by removing some of the oldest stems by cutting them at the base. In the meantime, pruning should be limited to removing any dead twigs (dead stems can be removed any time)and possibly a light shaping to remove any lopsided growth.

These plants do best in a full sun location; average soil is fine. The first year they may devote most of their energy to rooting and so you would see some noticeable growth the next year. Typically, shrubs take a number of years to reach their mature size so you do need to be somewhat patient. Often, too, variegated plants tend to be a bit less vigorous than their green-foliaged versions.

To help your plants along, make sure they are watered as needed the entire first season up until the ground freezes and in subsequent years during dry spells. Use your finger and check down in the soil to see if and when you need to water. Your goal is to keep the soil evenly moist but not sopping wet or saturated. Check both the root ball and the surrounding soil because sometimes they dry at different rates. A deep watering less often is better than a daily light sprinkling.

Also, use several inches of organic mulch to help keep the soil more evenly moist and keep down weeds. Place the mulch over the root area but not up against the stems. Fertilize with a complete granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 per label instructions and/or apply compost in early spring. Do not overfeed as this can burn the plants.

Enjoy your weigelas!

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