Merlot Rose WeigelaWeigela florida 'Bokrafive' (PP #21,725)
View more from Weigela
30 day - ARRIVE AND THRIVE™ guaranteeLearn more
Weigela florida 'Bokrafive' (PP #21,725)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Merlot Rose Weigela is an outstanding dual-effect plant, combining permanent deep burgundy foliage with vibrant pink flowers in mid-spring, and again through summer and into fall. It is a compact plant, about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide, making it ideal for the front of beds in larger gardens, or as a feature in smaller ones. It is also very suitable for planters and large containers. The leaves are richly colored from the moment they emerge in spring until they drop in fall, without fading or greening in summer, as so many other plants with colored leaves do. The tubular flowers grow in clusters all over the stems, and they are attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds.
The Merlot Rose Weigela should be planted in full sun for the best results, but it will also grow in light partial shade. It grows in any well-drained soil, including heavy clay, and it needs no special conditions to thrive, even in urban gardens. It is completely hardy to zone 5, and normally has no pests or diseases. Deer usually ignore it, and this plant is very easy to grow. Pruning in late spring, after the first flowering, will encourage more blooms in summer and fall, as well as stimulating new growth for flowering in the following year.
Although gardeners usually buy shrubs for their flowers, what a plant looks like when not flowering is much more important. After all, flowers are with us for a few weeks of the year, but leaves are there from spring to fall. We could just ignore the plant outside of the bloom period, and settle for plain green, but why, when there are today so many great shrubs with colored foliage? Take the weigela, which is already loved for its beautiful tubular flowers and the hummingbirds they attract. Very nice, but with plain green leaves, it can be a bit boring when not in bloom. If instead you choose the Merlot Rose Weigela, you can enjoy the rich, dark-purple foliage of that plant, even when its clusters of deep pink flowers are gone. The smaller size of this variety also means it fits well into a small garden, where it’s even more important that every plant looks great for as long as possible.
The Merlot Rose Weigela is a small shrub, growing no more than 3 feet tall, and spreading a little wider, to around 4 feet across. The compact branches are densely covered in foliage, and its broad mounding habit covers the ground completely, making this an excellent ground-cover, suppressing weeds and filling your beds. The leaves, which are almost 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, are deep burgundy, like a rich red wine, from the time they first emerge in spring until the eventually drop to the ground in fall. This powerful color is the richest of all the weigela with colored leaves, and it really stands out in your beds, making a great color effect. Planting it with shrubs that have golden leaves will really bring your garden to life, and create a wonderful display, one that is there continuously, not just when flowers are around. No wonder colored foliage is so popular.
Foliage color is not the end for the Merlot Rose Weigela. No, it’s only the beginning. In May to June, this shrub bursts into bloom, lasting at least 3 weeks in this initial flowering. The plant is completely covered in blooms – the creator counted 3,000 flowers on each mature plant. The flowers are carried in clusters, appearing on short side stems that grow from the branches created in the previous year or two. The tubular flowers flare open at their mouth, with five small lobes spreading outwards. Each flower is 1½ inches long, and ½ inch across, and it is a deep pinkish red color, inside and out, making a vibrant display against the dark foliage. Butterflies love the flowers, but the real prize is the hummingbirds that are attracted to them – this plant is a real hummingbird magnet. You can enjoy these wonderful creatures in your own garden, and your children will love them too – have the camera ready.
Use the Merlot Rose Weigela in the foreground of your larger shrub beds, alone or planted in groups. Grow it as an accent plant in a smaller garden, and plant it among evergreens, where its foliage color will really stand out. It is also small enough to be used in planters, on a terrace, patio or balcony, so you can enjoy this great plant even if you don’t have a garden.
The Merlot Rose Weigela grows easily throughout zone 5, and all the way through zone 8, so it can be grown across most of the country.
This shrub should be planted in full sun for the best foliage color and blooming, but it will grow in light partial shade too. It grows in most types of soil, including heavy clay, if the soil is well-drained. It will not grow well in wet ground. It grows well in urban gardens, so wherever you are you can enjoy this great plant, for both its vibrant purple foliage, and its rose-colored flowers.
The Merlot Rose Weigela is not bothered by pests or diseases, and even deer leave it alone. As that first flowering fades, the flowers drop naturally to the ground, so there is no need to spend time tidying the bush. If you prune at this time, new flowers will continue to be created during the summer and early fall, and there will rarely be a time when there aren’t at least a few flowers to enjoy. The goal in pruning the Merlot Rose Weigela is to encourage new shoots for the next year, so you should remove a few of the oldest stems completely, or back to where strong new shoots are pushing out. As well, shorten back long side branches, so that they will sprout again, bringing that second crop of flowers.
The Merlot Rose Weigela is the result of a breeding program carried out by Kees Jan Kraan, at a nursery in Boskoop, the Netherlands, called Boot & Co. This part of Holland has been a center for plant breeding and production for over a century. Kraan collected seed from some promising seedling plants he had already bred in 2000, using an older variety with red flowers called ‘Evita’. By 2007 he found, among that second batch of seedlings he grew, one that was what he wanted – a compact plant with great foliage color and many richly-colored blooms. After trialing it he patented it in the USA in 2011. It was released as Colorstar™ Merlot Rose by the breeders’ agent Concept Plants.
Our plants are grown under license, and guaranteed to be identical to that original, carefully-selected plant that Krees Jan Kraan created. The demand for top-quality foliage plants is always huge, as everyone recognizes how valuable they are in the garden. Order now while our limited stock is still available.