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Weigela or Abelia

Posted by maryl Z7 Okla. (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 20, 06 at 15:49

I received my new Wayside Catalog and was wondering if anyone was growing Weigela "My Monet" or Abelia "Kaleidoscope". In particular was wondering about how stable the variegation was and the dimensions. I would appreciate hearing your experiences with either....Maryl


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Weigela or Abelia

Abelia 'Kaleidoscope' never had a chance to grow larger than 12-18" x 24" in my 6b garden due to diebacks and pruning of fully green branches. Not especially stable, IME, but variegation is very attractive.
White blooms are not especially visible against foliage.
Not the plant I would replace if it dies.
No experience with 'My Monet'.

In any event, Wayside is the less likely place where you should be looking for quality plants for a reasonable prices. Just IMO.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 20, 06 at 21:44

Some small plants of the weigela seen at a garden center here this fall were colorful. New on the market, it will have to be grown for awhile by the public to be fully assessed.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

IME, Abelia 'Kaleidescope' has so far been a good performer. Reversion is not uncommon on a few shoots (same with most variegated abelias) but nothing out of the ordinary. Got some amazing fall color as well. Size should be expected to 3'x3' under optimum conditions. It may just be my opinion, but I think abelias in general just perform better in milder climates - it wouldn't be at the top of my list for your zone 6, George :-)

Dwarf weigelas seem to be popping up with the same frequency as heucheras - a new one on the market every few weeks! Hard to comment on their performance - weigelas are tough little shrubs and nearly every cultivar has something to say for itself.

I'd agree that Wayside would not be the first place on my list to look for these shrubs. As new introductions, better local retail nurseries should be offering them in spring.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

"It may just be my opinion, but I think abelias in general just perform better in milder climates ...."

I agree on that. In z6 it doesn't perform to its full capacity. Diebacks and late leafing are among the main reasons why they are not as impressive and popular as in z7-8. Here they are deciduous to semideciduos, while in 7b-8 they are almost evergreen.

"... it wouldn't be at the top of my list for your zone 6..."

Well, maybe not at THE top, but definitely in an upper half of my list.
I definitely wouldn't trade my Ed Goucher for any kind of Weigela.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

  • Posted by maryl Z7 Okla. (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 21, 06 at 13:36

The good private nurserys in my area have just about disappeared, so for most new introductions or "uncommon" plants I have to wait until they filter down to Walmart( or the other box stores) or buy mail order. It's the Pits actually. I was leaning more towards the Abelia as I've read they are less stringent about growing conditons. I've also read that the variegated Weigela may burn in hot afternoon sun - and since this bed faces west (although partly shaded by a tree), the Abelia may do better. I do appreciate all your experiences and any thoughts you have about these plants. The fall foliage info on the Abelia was particularly enticing.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 21, 06 at 20:51

I was just reading about a new variegated abelia that had the main virture of not reverting, I thought it was this one or maybe already it has fallen off the wagon (there are several apparently similar variegated abelias on the market all at the same time these days). I posted a link to a page on the weigela on another forum.

Abelias are characteristic of warm situations even in the wild, wall treatment produces enhanced results in cool areas.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

Both Stringer and Colebrooks Nurseries in Tulsa have had Weigela and Abelia shrubs from Spring through Fall in 2006.

My Zone is a 6b/7, and a pink flowering abelia I purchased from Colebrooks a few years ago is doing fine. It is planted in the Southeast corner of a privacy fence. The fence shades it in the morning on sunny days and it gets plenty of midday and Western afternoon sun.

The area where my Abelia is growing has been hard to get much to grow; due to the morning shade and the fact that a thick layer of sand had been piled and spread there when my neighbor's house was built. So I am very glad that my abelia is doing so well. That abelia also seems to do fine getting some competion for moisture from the feeder roots of a mature Scarlet oak tree which is growing only 15 feet just north of it.

On Dec 27th I went to Stringer Nursery looking for some dormant Wine and Rose Weigela. They did not seem to have any left. Colebrooks should likely still have some. They were pretty stocked up with them in September.
At Stringer Nursery on the 27th I saw two cultivars of beautiful Fringe shurbs. They were in an open-sided greenhouse. The 'Blush' cultivar displayed an almost bluegreen leaf with red new growth leaves. The Fringe shaped floweres were bright enough to be showy even though the shrubs were fully leafed out and their flower petals were more long and narrow in shape.

This Loropetalum 'Blush' cultivar shrub seems more desireable than the weigela and abelia. 'Blush' is semi-evergreen; starting in April it covers itself with flowers, and while the temps are above freezing through spring, summer, fall and early winter, it still produces enough flowers to catch one's attention. I have seen reports that 'Blush' has proven to keep its leaves well into the winter in zone 6b/7. Unlike the Wine and Rose weigela, only when the temperatures drop near single digit temps would I expect an established 'Blush' to go dormant.

Three gallon potted size Loropetalum 'Blush' that were about 18 inches tall and just slightly wider, cost just under $16. If I remember right the same size potted Weigelia I noticed at the local nurseries last spring cost about thirteen dollars more. Mail and internet suppliers seem to charge even more especially if you have to pay shipping charges along with the cost of the order. They also usually never send any shurbs in as nice of a size and condition as those two 'Blush' Fringe shrubs I purchased from Stringer Nursery.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

Weigelas here have one very short bloom season, weak rangy wood that gets very brittle and breaks, so I don't like them much though the variegated leaves look nice in spring.

Abelias need pruning to get a good rounded shrub or can be left natural for arching branches. Mine in Zone 8 stay evergreen and bloom a long time. I much prefer them to Weigelas in general but am not familiar with the varieties you mention.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

  • Posted by maryl Z7 Okla. (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 31, 06 at 21:03

It was the varieties I mentioned that caught my eye, although general cultural information about Weigela vs. Abeilia is most welcome.

I am familiar with the nurseries in Tulsa mentioned and if both of these shrubs become accepted in the trade I'm sure they will eventually filter down to them.

I see that the large wholesale nursery in Tahlequah (Greenleaf)carries both of them and Monrovia will be carrying the Weigela next year, so can Walmart/Lowes/Home Depot be far behind?


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 2, 07 at 22:10

If you go to the Spring Meadow web site they have several new abelias and weigelas, including the new dwarf variegated one.

Abelias pruned into balls constantly break out of the shape with wands of new growth that have the natural habit. Anyone wanting blobs should plant dwarf box or one of the dwarf, comparatively compact abelias.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

"Abelias pruned into balls constantly break out of the shape with wands of new growth that have the natural habit."......

....meaning that it will have a rather 'vase shape' than the 'fountain shape' if let grow naturaly.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 3, 07 at 15:00

You've lost me.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

  • Posted by maryl Z7 Okla. (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 3, 07 at 20:09

I had to laugh at your rather predjudicial term "blob". Perhaps the term "formal" would better convey a boxwoods ability to be pruned into a more confined upright shape. Nothing wrong with a formally trained boxwood if it suites you or your space. However, I understand what you probably mean. The Abelias natural grace might be lost by the same intense prunning. Same argument I've heard against a formally pruned Forsythia.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 3, 07 at 21:05

The problem with trying to use abelias for formal shearing is that the new growth immediately breaks out of the formal outline.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

Mine are quite au naturel.:-) I'm not very good on the pruning tasks, but will have to do better with my apple trees this year after seeing too many apples on the ends of branches and too many broken limbs last year. But I like the Abelias arching, they just get too exuberant in going into the next shrub.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 4, 07 at 21:31

Maybe a few of your apples are tip-bearing cultivars.


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

I have purchased a My Monet from Wayside Gardens, but its being sold at retail this spring. It is doing wonderful in my zone 5 garden. I have several of them planted under a weeping cherry tree. I have been told that this variety will not burn, but goes dormant earlier than older varieties causing it to have less tie dieback. It also has a tendency to leaf out later similar to Midnight Wine Weigela from comparing it in my garden.

You can find My Monet at www.waysidegardens.com/colorchoice

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to more information about My Monet


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RE: Weigela or Abelia

  • Posted by maryl Z7 Okla. (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 30, 07 at 20:28

Thanks for the personal experience. How did the variegation do for you? Was it all 3 colors as shown?..... I see that both the new Weigela and Abelia hybrids are in stock at a large in state wholesale grower, so hopefully they will show up at a local nursery or box store this spring.


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