Pruning Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’

UPDATE: After reading this post, you can see where things stand 5 years later. Click here to see that update.
Earlier this spring, I decided to experiment a bit by pruning Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ shrubs in three different ways, so I could study and document the results. You can read the original post here. Here is what I’ve found to date:
1)First up, the “selectively pruned” after a slight haircut:
And how it looks as of today:

It is only a tad bit smaller than it was at this time last year but it looks a lot healthier. I also like the fact that it kept it’s shape.

There were even a few sporadic blooms back in May:

2)The “severe” prune down to about 12 inches:

The foliage that first emerged within a few weeks was a fantastic color, an almost reddish/black:

As of today, the foliage still looks great and has grown to about two feet tall:

While it has remained on the short side, the foliage is by far more vibrant than the other two:

I’ll be sure to not touch this again next spring so I can closely monitor how it looks in year two, post severe prune.

3)The untouched Weigela:

And how she looks today:

Very uninspiring. Foliage has declined as the summer has dragged on and has really never looked good at any point.


  • “Selective” pruning worked out well, foliage color was outstanding, shrub shape was perfect and there were even a few blooms to boot.
  • “Severe” pruning, while it obviously stunted the growth of the Weigela, it still resulted in outstanding foliage and shape and I assume it will look even better in year two.
  • “No” pruning on a three year old shrub resulted in the same uninspiring size, shape and foliage appearance. While this may also be due to other conditions, I’m determined to stay on top of the pruning of these shrubs to maintain their appearance as their foliage color is incredible among a sea of perennials and grasses.


20 thoughts on “Pruning Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’

  1. Alison

    Thanks so much for doing this side by side comparison experiment for us, so we don’t have to! I’m unhappy with the shape of my own Weigela Wine & Roses, so I’m thinking maybe next spring I will go drastic on it!

  2. Vetsy

    John thanks for sharing this pruning post, it was info that I needed. I have a small “Red Prince” that looks awful this year. The leaves are yellow with brown spots all over them. I think I’ll give them a hard pruning and see what happens.

    1. Anonymous

      Yellow leaves with brown spots – sounds like the plant is suffering from a fungus (similar to blackspot on roses), or too humid/wet.

  3. Shyrlene

    ONG – excellent post. I’ll tucking your imparted wisdom in my back pocket for future use. This Spring I planted (2) of these same Weigelas in my ‘Sun Garden’ like garden bookends.

  4. Anonymous

    I’m addicted to your blog!

    I do have a question. Is there a reason you didn’t prune the weigela in late spring, right after blooming, as is recommended? It blooms on “old wood,” so pruning in May/June would let you have your bushy leaves as well as the pretty flowers. Right?

  5. Jennifer

    I live in Illinois and have some of this same plant that did great and some that are lacking with crispy looking leaves now mostly near the top third of the plant and then bare branches below. They look kind of dead! I was considering trying your severe prune but should I do it now or wait till early Spring? If I wait till Spring should it be right after our last frost?

  6. Eva Wetzel

    Thanks so much for the Weigela information. I have a few and have been vaguely annoyed with how lacklustre they are. Now, I know I mostly have myself to blame so I am more than happy to be decisive. I have noticed that having some gusto (like being prepared to coppice) is an advantage in the garden. All my fussy friends with their overgrown mock oranges. Yuk.

  7. Anonymous

    I love that you did this! Thanks so much for sharing! I learned a lot about how I want to prune my weigela’s! I have them under windows that I put Christmas sprays up in the winter. Knowing I can prune them the way I want to and know I need to and can is very helpful! Thanks!!
    Sincerely, Becky : )

  8. Anonymous

    If you want more flowers the following year, then wait to prune after the current year’s flowers start to fade. Using the techniques illustrated in this article removes all or most of the one-year old wood – so result is no, or very few, flowers.

  9. Anonymous

    My Wine & Roses came in very thin & scruffy this year after a little post-bloom haircut last spring. I’ve never in the 19 years I’ve lived here done a hard prune, but I’ve decided to do that after the current bloom has passed. This post has encouraged me!

  10. Anonymous

    Can these weigelas be pruned in late October after all blooming is over? One nursery said yes and one nursery said to prune in June after blooming.

  11. Anonymous

    Wonderful post!! I just bought my first one. This helps as I wasn’t sure how to care for it. thank you for posting!

  12. Rick

    Great insights…I have started a woodland garden with Weigela Wind & Roses and a couple Ninebarks…I have tried many pruning methods…thanks for sharing your photographic results!

  13. Bet'ny

    Ugh. Mine definitely look like the untouched. VERY woody. Gonna Prune. Can’t look any worse than what they do now. Worse case scenario, yank them out and start over; pruning correctly moving forward. Thanks! 🙂

  14. Angie

    It is November in Michigan…my weigelia are brown now of course. Can I prune down to a foot or so for a tidier look for winter?

    1. jmarkowski Post author

      Angie – you can prune them down now, but would be cutting off a lot of next year’s flowers since they are already forming. Thanks for reaching out!

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