Gardening Lessons Learned by Trial & Error

samnsarahJanuary 14, 2014

It�s been said that trial and error is a terrible way to learn. Although this may be true, sometimes trial and error is the only way one can learn. This has been my experience with the Wine and Roses Weigela. I planted a few of these shrub on the south side of my house a couple of years ago where they would receive an entire day of full sun. I thought this would be the best for them, since I had read that Wine and Roses Weigela needed full sun to display the darkest leaf color and most profuse and vibrant colored blooms.
So you can understand my disappointment when their foliage began to turn bright green and scorch. They looked healthy and kept producing new growth, which scorched almost immediately. By end of the summer of 2012, they were looking pretty bad.
After several e-mails, a couple of phone calls, and visits to my local county extension office and local nursery, I was told that the intense sun was scorching them and probably turning them green.

Last summer began round two of my trial and error weigela learning experience. I moved all of my Wine and Roses Weigelas to the east side of my house, just behind the mums, where they would receive morning sun and afternoon shade. To my delight and disappointment, they did not scorch at all but still turned green, although not quite as bright green as on the south side of my house. As summer turned to fall and the temperature began to cool, so did the leaf color of my Wine and Roses Weigelas. Their foliage turned from green to the dark purple they are known for almost overnight. That�s when I learned something about this shrub that no one, via internet, phone, or personal contact had ever told me before, maybe because they didn�t know. In my area, (Kingman, KS) Wine and Roses Weigelas need cool temps to display that dark purple foliage. There may have been other environmental conditions that were also a contributing factor, but I am convinced that heat was the main culprit.

Perhaps Wine and Roses Weigelas can still display purple foliage in scorching heat up north as long as they experience cool night time temperatures. I don�t know this last statement for sure, since I have never had the joy of learning gardening knowledge by trial and error up north.
But my hope is that by telling this story, I can save someone else on this form a lesson by trial and error. If you�re Wine and Roses Weigelas or some other dark leafed shrubs, are turning too green, perhaps too much heat is the problem.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I thought you posted about this and I said the exposure might not work out. If not, then there was somebody else with the same subject.

In a related example people are always being told to plant purple Japanese maples in full sun for best color but even here in dullsville I can show anyone countless examples of these that have gone brown or bronze, developed areas of scorching because they get no shade. As with anything the specific circumstances, the details determine the outcomes - such plants will develop areas of green where fully shaded and will fade out, even burn where there is no shade. Planted in the correct partial shade situation they should perform as hoped - all other conditions being suitable.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 3:17PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Hey, PM,

A similar story from here. Three were planted at a location on the east side of the house under a 30' red oak, the first maybe 8' from the trunk, the next 12' and the third 16' away. As a side note the farther away the larger the plant became. They did produce the purple-bronze foliage but I never could call it true purple or purple-black like all the pics in the catalogs.

For me their demise came from 0ð or slightly colder temps coupled with DRY conditions. The first time they all three froze back almost to the ground, and the second time two out of the three winterkilled. The only one left was the runt closest to the oak so I jerked 'em all.

When I first moved in here there was a rough looking "regular" green weigela on the west side in full afternoon sun. It, too, would always get tip die-back in winter. Jerked that one, too. I really think it might have something to do with desiccation due to summer heat as you said OR winter drought. Nonetheless I have moved on to tougher shrubs. Yep, live and learn.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 3:35PM
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Yes, Bboy, that was me, but I was reassured by a local nurseryman that they would perform well, so I went for it.
The east side exposure is better, but they are still very green and one even turned partially bronze. I'll have to wait and see if they die to the ground. So far they are still alive to the ends of their stems, but there is a lot of winter left to go.
Like Hortster said, " and learn."

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:38PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I've never had a weigela maintain decent purple foliage in various conditions with the exception of the cultivar Shining Sensation.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:10PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

have you considered that it a foo foo plant ... that might not be happy were ever you plant it ...

seems like i had a plain old W for years... pure weed ...

and every variegated version i tried... fried ...

also.. have you considered night temps as an issue ... no good period of cool recovery to recover from the onslaught of the day?? .... we have a KC guy in the conifer forum.. and that is his theory about such ... that plus night humidity.. but that is more a conifer problem ....

i vote for moving on ... perhaps that is the lesson you are missing .... the workd does not revolve around W&Roses ...


    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 6:39AM
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Oh, believe me, Ken, I've already moved on, but I figured someone may be able to learn from my mistake, thus the reason for the post in the first place. Then again, I am still fairly new to gardening, so maybe everyone who posts on GW has already made my mistakes. lol
Anyway, I am going to shovel prune the weigelas this spring, but would like some advice on what to replace them with. Whatever I plant will receive morning sun and afternoon shadebe and will serve as a back drop for lavender colored mums. Any suggestions? I was considering a combination of Midnight Magic Crape Myrtles and Goldmound Spireas.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:17PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I keep watching local outlets to see if a more consistent purple weigela has come along.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:52PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

As I mentioned Shining Sensation is one of them. It may have to do with its exceptionally glossy foliage as compared to the others.

Mine is in blazing 14 hours of sun during the peak of the season.

BTW WIne and Roses is an old school cultivar (the very first purple leaf if I'm not mistaken) that is the worst of the bunch. Fine Wine is an improved version that maintains better color but still not great. Not that you should stick with them but my point is that you are using an inferior cultivar IMO.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:03PM
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I was selling Tango long before Wine and Roses showed up. I have a seedling that grew up next to one of my Tangos that has a much darker purple leaf and doesn't burn in full sun here in N.W. Ohio.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 8:00AM
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My experience has been they have stayed mostly purple in a southern exposure with some greening up but they have died to the ground twice in 3 years in my zone 7b which means I haven't had flowers a single time yet!!

I have two plain old variegated wiegela that has been tough as nails - full all day sun, no scorching, and no supplemental water after the first year with no apparent ill effects to go along with profuse flowering every spring. The wife wishes I had planted more of them. I may have to try rooting a few cuttings of them...

This post was edited by j0nd03 on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 15:52

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 3:49PM
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I noticed that those of you who have purple leafed weigelias that perform well are in north-central climates (WI & OH). My W&R Weigelias didn't turn purple until it got cold in the fall. Now I'm just theorizing, but could it be possible that the cooler summer nights up north are one of the major factors contrbuting to the dark purple color?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 10:43AM
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I'm in Arkansas :-/

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 8:54PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Jon, I can cut back and bareroot three of them if you're interested. Weigela florida 'Variegata Nana'. I want to convert to a shrub with fall color in their current spot.

I cut them back to keep them more globe like so they are pretty robust. Just pick up shipping which is dirt cheap with my connections.

PM, I have a feeling your arid climate is more of factor along with the heat. Could be completely unrelated but variegated conifers get better color in more humid climates. At the end of the day I had Fine Wine in a south exposure for a foundation planting and they never had a nice color with the exception of spring.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 8:16AM
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Heck yeah I'll take em, whaas! The wife is very excited lol She has been discussing planting sites already, something she NEVER does haha

I still have a yahoo email address for you. Would you like me to get the correspondence started that way? If not just send me an email through GW with an email Addy I can reach you at in the subject of the message :-)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 8:58AM
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kidhorn(7a MD)

I have wine and roses in a sunny spot and they do fine. The inner leaves are greenish, but the outer ones are brown. Not burned brown. Just brown. I'm in Maryland.

My only grip is they grow fast. Maybe 3-4' every year. I have to prune them a couple times a year.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 3:39PM
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Thanks kidhorn. It sounds like your climate is more conducive to Wine & Roses Weigelas than the climate here in SC Kansas. I think we are just too hot a dry for them down here. I have learned rather quickly that just because you are within a plantâÂÂs hardiness zone range doesnâÂÂt mean that the plant will perform well for you. A good example of this are crape myrtles. They are not supposed to be âÂÂhardyâ to my zone, but there are MANY crape myrtles of all varieties in my town and most of them seem to re-sprout from the stems each year.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 5:51PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Proves my point that Wine and Roses is an inferior cultivar. Brown and green colouration in MD is a no go for anyone at that point.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 4:30PM
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