A weigela in full flower is a thing of beauty indeed, and over the past decade these shrubs have found themselves the object of considerable horticultural hype, which extols their ease of culture, prolonged season of bloom and, more recently, variegated foliage and remontant flowers that provide waves of colour all summer long.
'Red Prince' photography by Millette PhotoMedia
Plant profile: Weigela
The genus Weigela contains about 14 species that are indigenous to Japan, China and Korea: kissing cousins to honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.) and our native Diervilla spp., like their relatives they’re all hummingbird magnets.
After the end of the First Opium War in 1842, the Royal Horticultural Society sent Scottish botanist Robert Fortune (1812-80) to China on a plant collecting expedition. Fortune first spotted Weigela florida growing in a garden at Zhoushan (Chusan) and wrote that, “Everyone saw and admired the beautiful weigela, which was a great favourite with the old gentleman to whom the place belonged.” Fortune duly purchased specimens at a Shanghai nursery, shipping them back to England in Wardian cases in 1845.