Weigela florida

Sometimes known as fairy trumpets, this is a deciduous shrub from North China and Korea, which has a profusion of flowers in mid-spring on long cane-like branches. It needs at least half sun and sufficient moisture until established: thereafter it is fairly drought-tolerant. Like most caney shrubs, it needs to be pruned immediately after flowering by removing up to one-third of the oldest, thickest canes at ground level each year and lightly deadheading the rest of the flowering shoots, rather than giving an all-over haircut, which destroys their intrinsic arching shape. It can be propagated from hardwood cuttings taken in autumn or winter, or softwood cuttings in early summer.

Perhaps the most commonly seen is the basic species (ht 2.5-3 m), which has rosy-pink trumpets in late September and October, which are good for picking for a vase. Various cultivars are available in different flower colours, including white (Weigela florida f. alba, ht 2 m); and there are also ones with leaves variegated in cream (Weigela'Florida Variegata', ht 2-2.5 m), or with purplish foliage (Weigela florida 'Foliis Purpureis', ht 1m). For smaller spaces, choose Weigela 'Minuet' (ht 75 cm) with deep pink flowers amidst bronze-tinged leaves or crimson-flowered Weigela 'Eva Rathke', ht 1.5 m.

Postscript: I eventually took out my Weigela as it didn't have enough space to develop properly where it was. I still think they are good shrubs for a mid-spring display, but make sure you have enough space if you decide to plant one! I am thinking of planting a new one in a different spot. There are also dwarf forms available for compact gardens.

Flowers in September, October.