MOST of us have heard of the weigela, one of the most popular summer shrubs with flowers resembling mini-foxgloves. But what about kolkwitzia?
Call it a refined weigela if you wish – both are at their best in mid-summer but whereas weigelas come in several shades of pink and red, kolkwitzias are only in pink with yellow throats and with a five-lobed mouth.
It is often known as the Beauty Bush and for very good reason. It hails from China, is perfectly hardy despite its fragile appearance, its branches arch in elegant fashion and it has the bonus of peeling bark which adds to the shrubs appeal. Its deciduous foliage is dark green and slightly hairy.
The other main difference between the pair is that weigelas have 12 species and numerous hybrids, while kolkwitzia has just one species – Kolkwitzia amabalis.
Like weigela, kolkwitzia is generally trouble-free. If they could talk they would say “Please plant me in full sun but I can tolerate semi-shade.” And if you need to prune the right time is soon after the flowers fade.
Not so easy to track down as weigelas but the larger garden centres should stock them.
⏩⏩➡» Top – A cluster of pink kolkwitzia trumpets pictured at Rosemoor, Torrington, the Royal Horticultural Society’s West Country nerve centre.