Pluses: foliage colour
Weigela ‘Midnight Wine’ (sometimes called ‘Elvera’) is a dwarf version of the popular Weigela ‘Wine & Roses’. With a height of no more than one foot, it is ideal for the front of the border or as a ground cover under taller leggy shrubs and trees. This beautiful shrub is fairly maintenance free as it’s small size makes it easy to maintain.
The only negatives with Midnight Wine are that it leafs our very late (mid-June) and does not blooms as consistently as Wine & Roses. I find it to be a little less hardy than Wine & Roses. In my zone 5 Southern Ontario garden I find this weigela does not leaf out until mid-June and it’s flowers can be limited by die back of the tips. This has not been a deterrent in my use of Midnight Wine in the landscape however as I use it primarily for it’s foliage colour and small size.
If you are looking for a low growing purple shrub that leafs out early and do not need flowers consider Barberry ‘Concorde Grape’ or ‘Crimson Pigmy’ as an alternative. Beware though that they do have thorns.
Plant in full sun in well-drained soils. I prune dead tips in June, well after I see foliage but otherwise little pruning is needed. Weigela ‘Midnight Wine’ is a slow grower so may take a while to fill in if you are using it as a ground cover. Plant closer than 2 feet apart for solid ground cover. Two foot spacing will show off its natural mounded shape.