There are various varieties of weigela shrubs that can be found growing in the wild in Japan, eg. the Taniutsugi or Weigela hortensis (hortensis means “horticultural, of garden”); Weigela Thunbergii and Weigela japonica.
Weigela is named after German chemist C.E.Weigel. The weigela pictured here is the Weigela Hortensis is the closest match to my picture. Info below.
Weigela Hortensis – Description: A deciduous shrub with greyish brown fissured bark. Leaves are opposite, ovate, acuminate at the apex, serrulate with glandular teeth. Pink to red flowers open on new shoots in May to June. This tree is very common in the cool temperate zone on the Japan Sea coastal areas. Often seen there as garden trees.
Weigela Japonica – Description: A deciduous shrub that grows to 5.0 meters (16.5 feet) high by 0.5 meters (1.65 feet) wide and prefers many types of soil with a pH ranging from acid to alkaline and partial to full sun with moderate moisture. This plant has hermaphrodite flowers and is hardy to zone 6. Habitat: E. Asia – C. and S. Japan. Not known. This plant might do well located in a hedge along a shady edge along a dappled edge along a sunny edge or in a woodland garden.
Cultural Notes: An easily grown plant, succeeding in most fertile soils. Prefers a moist well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Tolerates atmospheric pollution. Plants are very floriferous and can exhaust themselves, literally flowering themselves to death. The flowers are borne in the leaf nodes of the previous years growth and any pruning is therefore best done as soon as the plant has finished flowering. There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation Notes: Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible, otherwise in late winter or early spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Softwood basal cuttings, 10 – 12cm long, in a sandy soil in a cold frame in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 8 – 10 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth. 20 cm long, November in a sheltered outdoor nursery bed.
Medicinal Uses: Salve. Used as a wash for virulent sores. Other Uses: Plants can be grown as a hedge.
Edible Uses: None known Known Hazards: The leaves are slightly toxic.
Source: Permaculture Information Web
Distribution ; Hokkaido, Honshu
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Posted on May 1, 2006