Teaching an old shrub new tricks

I’ve been growing Weigela florida ‘Variegata’ in my garden for several years now, and it has been a consistent performer throughout its tenure. One specimen grows at the northern entrance to the backyard, and the other is planted a few feet away from our southern bedroom window. It seems to tolerate heavy pruning to keep it within bounds, and doesn’t have heavy fertility or water requirements. I’ve always considered it a reliable, low-maintenance shrub, if not one of the shining stars of the garden.

This spring, however, ‘Variegata’ decided not to play second fiddle. The deep green foliage, usually edged in ivory, has emerged this spring with a bright yellow-green border. Combined with the white-to-pink blooms, the new foliage pattern has been eye-catching in both locations in the garden.


The foliage color shift isn’t the only difference from the past. ‘Variegata’ has always given a good flower show, but this year the shrubs are much more densely-covered by pink and white trumpet-shaped blossoms.They first opened when we had a short burst of 90 degree weather in early May, and the cooler weather since has prolonged their sweetly-scented bloom.

At the northern gate, a couple of the Weigela branches have arched over and through a patch of lavender-hued Iris pallida. I’m not sure I would have planned to put yellow-green, pink and lavender together, but this serendipitous combination has been a favorite so far this year.

Either W. florida  ‘Variegata’ takes several years to come into its own, or this spring’s environmental conditions have been perfect for this shrub. Either way, ‘Variegata’ has learned some new tricks to shine in the garden

Published by Christopher Tidrick

Be real. Love always. Share beauty. Lead well. Learn more.

One Comment

  1. I sure like your Weigela “Variegata”, I grow “Wine and Roses” and “Fine Wine” both a bit smaller than yours…..I read on the Proven Winners pages for those plants about pruning, says “Best if done immediately after flowering. Also flowers sporadically on current season’s growth.” Could you give me a more detailed play by play tutorial on how you prune yours? I pruned mine like Proven Winners suggested but must have made a wrong cut somewhere's cause one of my “Wine and Rose” looks like a Kosher Dill Pickle now…….:)



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