Planting Weigela to Attract Hummingbirds
The weigela, with its trumpet-shaped flowers, can be a hummingbird's favorite stop in your garden. Hummingbirds are drawn to flowers with fragrant nectar and also to red flowers, both of which weigela has in abundance. Plant and maintain weigela following these suggestions, to share your garden all summer long with hummingbirds, the gems of the avian world.
Choose the Weigela Varieties Hummingbirds Will Love
Many varieties of weigela feature red or pink blooms, the hummingbird's favorite color. Some of the most brilliant weigela are:
- Weigela florida "Rumba", whose scarlet flowers have white flashes in the centre
- "Wine and Roses", which has rich deep pink blooms atop burgundy-purple foliage
- "Red Prince" with its dark velvety red flowers
- "Polka" with flowers in 2 shades of pink
- "Bristol Ruby" which grows to 6 feet tall and has vivid warm red flowers
- A newer cultivar from France is the "Carnaval" which has flowers shaded in red, with pink and white centers
- A dwarf weigela that is attractive to hummingbirds is the "Minuet" which reaches a maximum height of about 30 inches
How to Plant Weigela to Attract Bird Life
- Grow your weigela from seeds, if possible, to ensure their flowers produce abundant nectar. Some nursery-grown plants from cuttings tend not to produce as much nectar as original stock.
- Cultivate other companions with the weigela, such as impatiens, petunias or fuchsia from seed where practicable. Hummingbirds will feast on the nectar, and reduce the insect population around these flowers, too.
- Plant your weigela seeds and cuttings from healthy shrubs in bright sunlight. The flowers will maintain their color and will produce a second round of blooms when they have abundant sunshine.
- Hang up some hummingbird feeders filled with nectar to keep the birds close by after they discover your weigelas.
- Suspend them at least 3 feet off the ground and a good distance apart, so that various hummingbirds will not fight to protect what they consider "their" feeding area.
Watering and Ongoing Care of Your Weigela
- Water your weigela daily in hot weather. It is best to water it in the early morning, just after sunrise, and at twilight to minimize evaporation. Weigela will absorb all the moisture you can give it and it almost never suffers from mold or fungus diseases.
- Add a powdered, time-release fertilizer specified for trees and flowering shrubs if foliage or flower production slows down. Follow the directions on the container closely to avoid nitrogen burn.
- Keep the area around the roots free of dead branches, winter mulch and fallen leaves, so the roots get sufficient airflow. If you notice the leaves are dropping from your weigela, thin out the shrubs near the roots and rake up any weeds and other organic matter under them.
- Prune the weigela in the late spring after it first flowers, using a shearing cut across the growing tips. This will promote growth of new branches and twigs that will support more blossoms, and provide a second overall bloom.