The Q&A Archives: Did I just kill my weigelia shrubs?

Question: I am in Zone 4. Last spring I planted three quart size carnival weigelia shrubs. They only grew a few inches from the crown and each had one 2-3 foot shoot coming off each crown. I just pruned the long shoots this March (because it looked quite silly)(hoping to give the energy back to the crown of the plant) and now I just read that I should have waited until they flowered. The crowns have no sign of life yet. Did I just cut off any chances of flowering this year? How will I tell if the plants are alive or not?

Answer: I don't think you killed your shrubs with your early pruning. Weigela shrubs bloom on the previous year?s growth, so the best time to prune is immediately after the blooming season (roughly midsummer). If you?re anxious to trim them sooner and you don?t mind missing this year?s flowers, you can prune in early spring at the first sign of new growth. Weigela responds well to a major haircut, so don?t be shy with your pruners. While they won't flower this year, they should put out some new growth a little later this spring. Continue to give your shrubs good care - water regularly and feed lightly after new growth begins. Next year wait until after blooming, then prune the stems down by about 2/3rds. This will encourage branching which will help your shrubs fill in a little more. Best wishes with your weigela!

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