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Abelia - Care Guide

Caring for Abelia

Abelia are both evergreen and deciduous shrubs growing, eventually, to a maximum of 8-10ft. The evergreen species comes from Mexico (A. floribunda) and the other species from China (A. chinensis and A. schumanii). The other A. x grandiflora varieties which we offer are of garden origin.

Abelia are popular, and deservedly so, in shrub borders and gardens for their attractive foliage and profusions of flowers whose calyxes remain a feature on the bushes long after flowering itself has actually finished. They grow best in a sunny border, apart from A. floribunda, which is an excellent wall shrub with a bit of help to it going by way of wires or trellis to which it will need tying in.

A. chinensis has a spreading habit with ovate dark green leaves. From summer to autumn it produces successive panicles of fragrant pink tinged white flowers with five lobed pink calyxes. It grows around 6-8ft tall with a wider spread after say 10 to 15 years.

A. floribunda has pendant tubular bright cerise-pink flowers in early summer and is a particular favourite. It can achieve a height of 10-12ft on a warm sheltered wall.

A. schumanii has arching branches and scented funnel shaped flowers which are lilac pink marked with orange in the throat. The calyces are prominent after flowering takes place in late summer or on into autumn. This is a more erect and less spreading species achieving a height of 6-8ft or so with a spread of 8-10ft.

A. x grandiflora varieties have remarkably different foliage forms and dainty pale pink flowers. ‘Confetti’ is much more dwarf growing with narrow white margined leaves. ‘Hopley’s Variety’ has gold variegated foliage which turns pink in autumn. When more mature, abelia can be pruned back hard in the spring to around 2-3ft from ground level to encourage vigorous new growth and more flowers. You may not need to do this every year. A. floribunda, conversely, only needs a light pruning of its tips.

Greenwood cuttings can be rooted simply and easily on bottom heat in the mist bench in early summer. Semi-ripe cuttings later in the summer can also be successful but may take longer to root.

Unusually, there are no pests and diseases which threaten abelia, but regular pruning will prevent your plants becoming leggy, over mature, and prematurely dead.


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