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Abeliophyllum distichum - Care Guide

Abeliophyllum distichum – White Forsythia

These smallish deciduous shrubs originate from Korea. They are related to forsythia and are grown primarily for the fragrance of their white flowers with yellowish centres which appear in February or March at about the same time as the first forsythias.

It grows only to 4 or 5ft in height, although it may grow taller when grown as a wall shrub. Winters are clearly harder in Korea than in the UK so the plant is clearly fully hardy. However, our summers are hotter, and the plant can suffer dieback after dry periods. The solution in the warmer eastern counties of England may well therefore be to give the plant a hard pruning down to about half its height after flowering to rejuvenate it. When grown against a wall a lighter pruning and some training in to supports would be appropriate.

Abeliophyllum flowers best in full sun rather than shade. Its autumn colour is a pleasant purple. They can be propagated by greenwood or semi-ripe cuttings a little later in the summer. We find them troublesome to root and it takes time.

A. distichum ‘Roseum’ is a rarer and more unusual form with pink tinged flowers which has proved a popular plant for us by mail order. You can tell spring is really on the way when you smell these flowers in the nursery.

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