Question about "training" a Weigela for specific purpose


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I have 2 different Weigelas planted in my turtle habitat (mostly, to provide shade). They are about 2 and 4 years old. I have been doing a hard winter prune to keep them from getting too large -- they need to serve their purpose as shade for the box turtles, but also there needs to be an aesthetic proportion with the habitat. But not sure I'm doing the right pruning regimen.....

My goal is for them to 1) stay in the 3' x 3' size range, 2) have the lowest branches (from the trunk) be about 12" off the ground, give or take. Basically, like a med-sized shrub.

No idea what species they are, but the earliest one to leaf out has "lipstick red" flowers and leaves that are (to me) an odd shade and mixture of greens. The other one (which is the oldest of the 2) leafs out about 2-4 weeks after the first one. It has dark reddish-green leaves and (I think) pink flowers.

EDIT: 1st plant is Sonic Bloom red / 2nd plant is Wine & Roses

Any suggestion on how to help them achieve this goal would be appreciated.
 
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They're pretty tough plants and can take harsh pruning. So you should be able to cut them as you wish.

The down side of this is that they are also vigorous growers so, if you want them to flower well, you will need to leave them through the Spring to reach flowering stage.

So, prune back after flowering but expect them to have vigorous growth through Spring that will take them past the size you want. You can also prune and shape them at the end of Autumn but if you take them back too much you may not get so much flower.
 
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MMathis, such constraints will mean no flowers on your weigelas. Not really the right sort of shrub to keep so small. :)
 
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