How to prune weigela – top gardening tips to get it right

Keep your spring-flowering shrub looking its best with this expert advice

weigela flowers
(Image credit: Iva Vagnerova / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Weigelas are pretty, deciduous shrubs that are well-loved for their prolific pink, purple, white, or red springtime blooms. Due to their fast and often-sprawling growth habit, an annual trim can be beneficial to keep their size in check.

When considering how to grow weigela, pruning is important. Regular trimming of these flowering shrubs allows you to remove any dead or diseased limbs, and open up more congested areas, too. All of this will improve the overall health of the plants and encourage lush growth and more blooms to brighten your yard.

weigela pink and white flowers

The trumpet-shaped blooms attract hummingbirds and pollinating insects

(Image credit: Iva Vagnerova / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

When to prune weigela

Routine pruning to control the shape and size of your weigela can be carried out once a year. 

It's important to note that these plants flower on the previous year's wood. So, wait to prune until late spring or early summer, after they have finished blooming, advises gardening expert Janet Loughrey of Garden Design. 'This should be done as soon as possible, as plants will begin forming new flower buds that will bloom the following year.

'Dead, diseased, or broken branches can be removed at any time during the growing season,' she adds.

Janet Loughrey
Janet Loughrey

Janet Loughrey has been a full-time garden photographer and writer for 25 years. She lives and gardens in Portland, Oregon. Previously, Janet gardened in the Adirondack region of upstate New York where she grew up. Experiencing different climates has given Janet a greater appreciation of the gardening challenges they present. In her own personal garden, Janet tends to an eclectic mix of roses, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs. Her most recent passion is growing annual flowers in containers from seed.

weigela flowering

Prune weigela to control its size and remove any dead wood

(Image credit: Federica Grassi / Moment / Getty Images)

How to prune weigela

Weigelas often look best when allowed to retain a somewhat natural shape, says Janet. So, bear this in mind as you prune.

'Before you begin, make sure you have sharp and clean pruning shears or loppers,' advises Harry Luther, the Founder of PlantPat. 'This will help you achieve clean cuts and minimize any potential damage to the plant.'

Begin by removing any dead or diseased stems, pruning them out at the base, says Harry. Then, cut back any errant stems that cause the plant to look misshapen, Janet instructs. 'Prune back to a healthy set of lateral shoots, which will promote lush, vigorous growth and more flower buds,' she says. Try to make your cuts at a 45-degree angle.

Every few years, you can also remove some of the old, thick, woodier branches by cutting them back to the base. This will help to rejuvenate the shrub and encourage better airflow and more sunlight into the plant.

When shaping or rejuvenating your shrub, remember to stick to the one-third pruning rule to avoid shocking it.

Once you've finished pruning your weigela, it's important to provide aftercare. 'Be sure to water the weigela well and add a layer of mulch around the base to retain moisture and suppress weeds,' Harry recommends. This will help it to recover quickly.

Fiskars Bypass Pruning Shears | $13.98 from Amazon

Fiskars Bypass Pruning Shears | $13.98 from Amazon
These pruners, with their sharp, steel blades and non-slip handle, will help you prune your weigela to perfection. They're a great addition to a gardening toolkit for deadheading and cutting back other plants, too.

Harry Luther
Harry Luther

Harry is a passionate gardening expert and the Founder of PlantPat, with years of experience in the horticulture world. His journey with plants began early on, nurturing a deep love for all things green. Over the years, he has honed his expertise in various aspects of gardening, from propagation techniques to plant care.

red weigela flowers

Avoid removing more than one-third of healthy growth at one time

(Image credit: Maksims Grigorjevs / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Add pruning weigela to your gardening tasks checklist and you'll be rewarded with a beautiful shrub that will bring plenty of blooms to your yard spring after spring. And while you have your pruners to hand, why not tackle a few other spring-flowering shrubs, too? Lilacs and viburnums, for instance, can also benefit from a trim once their flowers have finished.

Holly Crossley
Contributing Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then; over the years, she's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator. Having worked for for two years, Holly now regularly writes about plants and outdoor living for Homes & Gardens.