Abelia

Abelia

Attractive, medium-sized flowering shrub with arching stems of dainty trumpet-like blooms. Thrives in any soil but needs full sun to flower well. Long flowering period.

Family: Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle family)
Botanical Name: Abelia
Common Name: Abelia (named after Clarke Abel)

Foliage: Glossy ovate foliage in various shades, depending on variety. Evergreen in mild winters.

Flowers: Redish-purple, pink or white trumpet-shaped pendulous flowers.

Flowering Period: Early to midsummer.

Soil: Moist but well-drained fertile soil (chalk, sand or loam). Any pH.

Conditions: Full sun, south or east facing aspect, in a sheltered location. Best in full sun but will tolerate some light shade.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Hardy and half-hardy evergreen and deciduous shrubs.

Origin: Eastern Asia and Mexico

Hardiness: Not fully hardy in the UK. Protect from hard frost.

Planting and Growing Abelia

Plant pot-grown specimens in the spring or early summer. Any fertile soil will do so long as it is moist and free draining. Choose a mild, sunny, sheltered position. Ideally plant it near a south facing wall to protect from harsh winds and frost.

Abelia is lime tolerant and slow-growing and ideal for smaller gardens. A good choice for a specimen shrub or at the back of the autumn/summer border pit. Can be used as an informal hedge but will not flower well if continually clipped.

Taking Care of Abelia

Feed young or heavily pruned plants annually with a balanced fertiliser. Water well until established.

Pruning Abelia

Trim to keep in shape only. Give Abelia a general tidy up after flowering by cutting back old wood and straggly/leggy shoots. Cut back any frost-damaged stems to sound wood in late spring.

Flowers only on old wood so some loss of flower will occur if pruned heavily.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free.

Propagating Abelia

Easily propagated by layering long outer shoots in spring. Alternatively take semi-mature or heel cuttings 4-6in (10-15cm) in summer. Root in a cold frame or propagator with a bottom heat if possible.

Popular Varieties of Abelia Grown in the UK

Some species are tender and should be grown under the protection of a sunny wall. Most will grow to an eventual height of 6ft (2m).

A. floribunda has bright reddish purple flowers in early summer comma mid green glossy leaves. Not fully hardy so needs a sheltered and protected spot.

A. grandiflora a vigorous semi-evergreen with dark green glossy leaves that have a purplish tinge. Large, slightly fragrant, pink and white tubular flowers appear midsummer until autumn. Height and spread up to 6ft (2m).

A. chinensis (China) has fragrant white or pale pink flowers. Green ovate leaves. Height and spread up to 5ft (1.5m).

A. floribunda (Mexico) rosy-red, tubular flowers in early summer. Glossy semi-evergreen, not fully hardy in UK. Height to 10ft (3m).

A. shumannii is semi-decidous with large reddish flowers. Height and spread up to 5ft (1.5m).

A. triflora is fairly hardy in the UK. Fragrant white flowers flushed with pink. Height to 15ft (4.5m).