Weigela rejuvenation pruning

HexagonHexagon Posts: 533
This established weigela hasn't been pruned this year. Apparently it is a "prune after flowering" shrub, and it's currently in flower. There were some dead branches which have been removed.
Hopefully you can see from the pics that it's very tall and leggy at the back and most of the growth is towards the front of the shrub. I suppose that's a light issue, there isn't much light getting through the fence at the back.
I want to give it a renovative prune and try to give it a more shrub like appearance. It's kind of like a tree at the moment, over 2m tall. I suspect it's never had a renovative prune.
If this was your shrub, would you cut it back hard now, or wait until it's finished flowering?
Could cuttings be taken at this point? Could the whole shrub be moved after the hard pruning? How much growth could I expect in 3 months from now?
In an ideal world I would have a few new plants out of this plus a lovely rejuvenated shrub by the end of the summer.


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 4,202
    I pruned back my MIL's wiegla "Bristol Ruby" a couple of years ago. It was taking over so l cut it back pretty hard. It grew back well but only had a few flowers,  the following year it was back to full strength. It was around this time of year that l did it (out of necessity),  but l think autumn would have been a better time.
    Bit more info here
  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 533
    I actually think that it might be a Bristol Ruby, the flowers look a lot more red than in the picture I took.
    As there is no urgent need, I could probably wait until Autumn. I may change my mind...
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 4,202
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 16,471
    In my experience weigela can flower for months and that leaves little time for new growth after pruning if you wait.  As that one is so sparse I would do it now and feed it and hope it produces enough new growth to flower well next year.

    First remove all bare/dead/crossing stems.   Then, if it has multi stems, take out one third of the stems right back to the base.  Choose the ones with the most worn looking bark.  Afterwards, prune the remaining stems back to a healthy pair of leaves.

    Weed round the base to a diametre of 60cms minimum and top dress with a good, slow release fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure or blood, fish and bone then water well and mulch with well-rotted garden compost, manure or even just chipped bark to retain the moisture.  Give it a liquid tonic of seaweed or tomato food to encourage it and repeat this a couple of times up until mid-July to encourage lots of new growth but then give it time to ripen before winter frosts.

    Next year you should have a healthy, well shaped, floriferous shrub and can then, if needed, take out another older stem or 2 and reduce the rest after flowering is over.  The annual removal of an old stem or 2 will mean your shrub is constantly renewed and vigorous but do remember to feed it, even if it's only an autumn mulch, and water thru dry periods.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 13,545
    I agree with you that it needs moving, far too close to the fence, people don’t realise they grow in all directions when they put that 6” plant in the ground.
    I've cut these right back to about 6” from the base, they shoot out and make a lovely ball shape. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,184
    Is that some non flowering shoots in the top triangle picture, as you can take soft wood cuttings now.

    We have a Weigela the variegated one with pink flowers. It was here when we moved in and had been planted as Lyn said.
    Lyn said:
    far too close to the fence, people don’t realise they grow in all directions when they put that 6” plant in the ground.

    I have one in a pot ready to replace the big old one, from a cutting, but every year oldie flowers so prolifically I can't bring myself to take it out. I just keep cutting the stems nearest the neighbours fence to try and bring it out a bit. The old stump is quite large :D
    And the bees love it.

    I think it would be hard work to move, though it may well survive and grow new stems.

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 4,202
    Thanks for that @Lyn l have one that l bought for the princely sum of £1.99 from a discount store. At the moment it's about 10 inches high and l plan to put it  in the border when it's bigger. I shall make sure to give it plenty of room !
  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 533
    edited 16 May
    Thanks all, I think I will cut it right back and take loads of softwood cuttings if I can find enough non-flowering growth. Let's hope they don't all die like everything else I've tried! Will follow this link I found:
    Wish I'd thought about this in Jan/Feb when I chopped back the other one! That's coming back to life nicely, but then I wouldn't have had any cuttings either. Win-win (hopefully...)

  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 533
    Here's my first attempt. I've circled in white where it's been chopped back before. The 2 branches close to each other on the left are crossing, so I think it needs one more cut - marked in black, yellow, or blue. Unless there are any more suggestions? I've posted the original image underneath for clarity.

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 4,202
    @Orchidia , Just wondered how the weigela was getting along. I know it's only been a couple of weeks,  but my MIL's one is going mad again. I cut it back fairly hard, l think it was a couple of years ago, but it's getting out of control again. She usually trusts me to hack her garden to pieces, but this is right outside their large picture window so l want to be sure it starts sprouting fairly quickly before l attack it so hard.
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