Weigela is a beautiful deciduous flowering shrub native to Asia but grown in America and Europe, where deer thrive. This genus grows both in the wild and domestic environments. Because they thrive in regions where deer dwell, it’s necessary to be curious about the affinity between deer and weigela. So, asking the question, “do deer eat weigela?” gives you a heads-up on what to expect.
This article comprehensively explains the relationship between deer and the weigela genus. The aim is to enlighten you on how deer-resistant weigela is and the extent to which it affects the plant’s edibility. There are also answers to similar questions that will help you better understand the nature of weigela.
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Is Weigela Deer Resistant?
Weigela is beautiful, colorful, and attractive; even butterflies and bees like it, but deer do not. Deer avoid weigela because the plant doesn’t meet up to the desirable qualities they find in food. However, though rare, there are times when deer may eat weigela. Thus, the plant is only deer resistant to a certain extent.
The Weigela genus of flowering shrubs contains up to 36 species, each bright and colorful. They also don’t cost much, making them great for gardening. But as is known, deer are witty scavengers who turn to landscape crops during the winter when food becomes scarce. In this period, deer trudge along and shatter gardens and homegrown plants.
This invasion causes worry because your garden plants risk deer damage. But not to worry, weigela isn’t a favorite meal for deer. According to a study by Rutgers University, this genus ranks “Seldom severely damaged” by deer.
The reason is that weigela blooms in spring, a time when there are varieties of sweet options to satisfy the deer palette. Hence, they focus on enjoying other plants that make them drool and salivate. Then, when the winter hunt begins, our beautiful weigela flowers, deciduous, shed their leaves. So at the time when hungry deer may eat the plant, it has no lush foliage.
I can say that nature favors weigela since it’s also woody and deer dislike woody plants. However, this doesn’t alienate the plant from being eaten by deer. But, it is only edible to deer as a last resort. Therefore, you do not have to worry much about deer eating your weigela through all seasons.
Do Rabbits Eat Weigela?
Yes, rabbits can and will eat weigela if they can access it. They especially love the new fresh shoots that are just sprouting. Therefore, they are more likely to consume these than mature plants.
As little as rabbits may seem, they have extremely voracious appetites and can damage your garden and plants. Also, the more they reproduce, the larger the damage done. Due to this, you will be wary of planting crops that rabbit fancy. And if you already have them, you will search for ways to protect them against rabbit damage.
Unfortunately, weigela falls into the latter category. Besides the fact that rabbits eat almost any plant, weigelas are attractive. Their bright colors (red, pink, yellow) tempt grazing rabbits to dine. Rabbits will quickly gobble up new shoots of weigela, which contain more moisture and digest easily.
Then when eating mature weigelas, they will bite from the lower stem, cutting down the shrub. Then, they’ll begin to nibble their way up to the shoots, making it easy for them to consume more mature plants.
If you’re asking this question to deduce whether or not weigela can harm your rabbits, you should know that it’s a non-poisonous shrub. But you should enact protective measures if your lovely weigela plant is why you’re asking.
Do Weigela Like Full Sun?
The plant weigela is a full-time sun lover. It grows and thrives when planted or potted in a place that receives full sun. If you want to optimize the flowering of your weigela to get the best result, one of the most important things to do is to ensure the plant receives full sun daily.
I love calling weigela a sunny-side-up flower because it enjoys constant gazes from the sun. Its flower petals open up and stare skyward to create a vibrant, colorful display. However, these are situations when the full sun becomes dangerous to the plant.
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One such condition is when you plant variegated species of weigela in extremely hot regions. The high rays of the sun can damage variegated species of weigela by burning them. During such times, when the sun is at its hottest, it becomes your duty to shade your plant from the intense heat.
The color will intensify when variegated weigelas receive the right amount of light from a normal full sun. The lighter color zones will diminish, and the vibrant color will intensify this, exuding a lush bloom. Because of this, you must be cautious and attentive about how much full sun your weigela receives if you live in a very hot place.
Caring for Weigela (Light, Soil, Water, Temperature, Pruning, Flowering, Fertilizer)
Caring for your Weigela under the right conditions will give you healthy, vibrant plants. This plant requires full sunlight, well-drained, moist soil, consistent watering when growing, and a temperature within 60 – 80°F. You can apply fertilizer once a year, but pruning is necessary from winter to spring. This way, flowering can begin in late spring/ early summer.
Caring for your weigela is vital to the growth of the plant. Hence you need to understand all the necessary conditions for its growth. So, let’s study them individually.
This shrub is an avid lover of the sun. Therefore, they should dwell in a location where they can receive adequate sunlight. Weigelas should receive a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sunlight daily for optimum growth. But, if you live in a highly temperate area, they would need a bit of shade.
Weigelas aren’t too demanding, so they can grow in various soils. But grow your weigela in well-draining, moisture-retentive soil for the best result. As for PH level, this plant can tolerate slightly acidic, neutral, or slightly alkaline soil.
At the early stage of planting, endeavor to water your weigela consistently. It will need enough watering during this phase. When this stage is over, weigelas can rely on rainfall for water except in extremely hot summers.
While weigela is growing, it’s best to maintain a temperature between 60- 80°F. However, this requirement reduces when the plant begins flowering. At this stage, the perfect temperature is between 65-72°F. Though weigela is a sun lover, the plant can tolerate climates as low as 30°F.
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Pruning brings out the beauty of weigela flowers as it helps the plant to maintain shape. But you should be careful not to overdo this as you may mistakenly cut down flower buds. If you do, don’t expect as many flowers when it’s the flowering season.
The best time to carry out this activity will be when the flowering season is over. Pruning is necessary because it encourages growth.
Weigela grows full at the start of spring, and flower buds develop shortly after. The plant will then begin to flower in May or June. Then they continue to bloom through the rest of the summer season.
You should apply fertilizer and mulch once yearly around the root of your weigela. The mixture of fertilizer and mulch increases the nutrient content in the soil and suppresses the growth of weeds. A slow-release fertilizer is perfect for this plant.
Will Weigela Come Back After Deer Eat Them?
The regrowth of weigela after deer damage is dependent on one major factor. This factor is the extent of damage done to the plant. If the damage is severe, your weigela will not grow back. However, if it is subtle, you can expect your plant to spring back to life after a while.
Though it is unlikely for deer to eat weigela, it’s not impossible as no plant is thoroughly deer resistant. And, if a hungry deer decides to feast on your fine shrub, it will most likely consume it all unless it spots a better alternative. Therefore, there is no straightforward answer to the question above. While your weigela may grow back, another farmer’s or gardener’s own may not.
The reason is that the plant’s regeneration depends on the level of damage it suffers. So, if deer eat only a portion of your weigela, it will grow back. However, once the level of damage becomes severe and extends beyond the lower stem, the plant may not regrow.
Think of it in this light; the lesser the damage, the greater the possibility of growth. Also, the greater the damage, the lesser the possibility of growth. So, if you observe that your weigela is badly damaged and most of it is gone, you should start thinking about planting new seeds. But this time, consider the measures you can take to prevent damage from reoccurring.
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How to Deter Deer From Eating Weigela?
You can deter deer from eating your weigela using so many methods. Your options range from physical coverings, chemicals, use of pets, and installation of devices to the application of items.
Deer can damage your shrub, leaving it with the possibility of regrowth. To avoid this dicey situation, it’s best to take preventive measures. Though weigelas aren’t all that desirable to deer, you should try these all the same. So, let’s check out how to deter deer from eating your weigela plant.
- You can get a guard dog and let it roam your garden.
- Install a motion detector with a sprinkler system.
- Build a fence around your garden.
- Spray deer repellent on your shrub.
- Cover your plants with netting.
- Place bar soaps with strong scents around.
- Scatter human hair around your garden.
All these will help you keep deer far away from your weigela plants.
Weigela is a deer-resistant deciduous shrub that gardeners love to plant because it’s also easy to maintain. However, deer sometimes eat it alongside other animals since it isn’t toxic. But you shouldn’t worry much about this as there are various measures you can enact to keep your weigela plant blooming and free from damage.