The Abelias are a wide range of flowering shrubs - mainly evergreen but one or two also deciduous types of Abelia widely available.
Abelia shrubs are mainly frost hardy, but resent draughty or windswept conditions. Together with this, some suffer from frost damage - but this soon grows out with no detriment to the flowering capabilities later in the season.
Reliable and hardy, though can succumb to severe winters Abelia Kaleidoscope is set to take the crown in the x grandiflora group.
They prefer to be grown in full sun, but will tolerate light shade also. They resent having their roots in soggy ground and are liable to die if in such situations in wet winters.
Abelia x grandiflora is probably the most common, with a cultivar Abelia Francis Mason being even more useful with the variegated leaves, but there is a new kid on the block by name of Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope'.
The kaleidoscope of foliage colours aptly describes this Abelia plant, with the pink-tinged white flowers in this case taking 2nd place. There is an added feature in that this variegated Abelia shrub has red stems, that help to set off the golden and scarlet foliage.
Compact habit of growth makes this a very
colourful ground cover plant, but also superb in shrub border or as a
patio container plant.
Another use would be as a colourful hedge, for it stands up well to regular trimming.
Abelia x grandiflora is best described as being semi-evergreen, but in mild areas or when sheltered, it will retain most of its foliage through the year. The flower - very many and continuous - start from early summer and are attractive at all stages - from tight through to faded flowers. this being because of the attractive calyces surrounding the flowers.
On both, the foliage is very attractive when in new growth stage, and also later in the year. Flowering starts from late June and will persist through until the frosts of early autumn.
The image above, shows the attractive calyces that are apparent with all of the Abelia grandiflora types. In early bud the flowers are slight pink but opening to white.
Abelia schumannii is also worthy of note - having rich pink flowers in abundance through a long summer period - starting in early summer.
This variety of Abelia is deciduous and has attractive arching branches which will clothe the shrub down to ground level in most instances.
It has rich dark green to bronze foliage - again set off by the attractive calyces of the flowers. This time being orange red - matching in with the bright pink of the flowers.
Abelia schumannii seems to be fully hardy, and will tolerate a little wind in exposed positions, but best planted in sheltered aspect for best affect.
Abelias are best in well drained soils - even dry conditions. Neutral or slightly acid or alkaline will suit. They respond well to mulching with leaf litter or other organic matter in the autumn. In a reasonably fertile soil, they rarely require additional feeding - but the mulch seems to work well with this group of shrubs.
Abelia plants grow well in large pots and are well suited to the patio with their long season of interest - foliage, flowers and calyces. Whilst they are happy in dry soils in the garden, they will need to be watered from time to time if container-grown. Choose a pot that will have diameter of at least 18in - 45cm with a similar depth. A mixture of soil and peat compost is best - with the addition of Osmocote slow release fertiliser at planting time, and further dressings of the same each spring.
Give extra protection to the pot - in order to protect the roots - in severe winters. If wilting with evergreens, then also water in winter.
Abelia plant - evergreen and deciduous - can be rooted quite easily with semi ripe cuttings in early summer. A shoot of the current season's growth will be best, But easier still, will be ripe cuttings in the Autumn. These can be treated as per the semi ripe cuttings.
In all cases it is essential to have an airtight covering - such as a propagator lid of plastic bag to prevent moisture loss.
The deciduous Abelias rarely need pruning other than 'controlling' when planted too close to other shrubs! In this event prune the shrub lightly in early spring.
Evergreen Abelias are best pruned - if required - right after flowering in late summer. This will need to be carried out no later than August - to allow any new growth to harden before the early autumn frosts. Otherwise, light pruning in late spring/early summer before and significant new growth starts.
Frosted Abelia plants can be trimmed back to healthy growth. Bear in mind that the damage may only be superficial to young foliage and the stem is unharmed. In this case just strip the affected leaves from the shrub. Stem damage can be assessed by examination of the bark, and if necessary, just lightly scrape some bark away with thumb nail. If brown wood underneath, then probably dead - if green wood, then all is ok!
Rejuvenation Pruning - simply cut back hard in growing season - the earlier the better.
Other than possible scorching of new growth in exposed conditions, we know of no problems that are specific to Abelias, with the exception of light infestation of aphids in early summer - but rarely troublesome. If grown in containers, then as with all other container grown plants - be on the lookout for vine weevil beetle problems. This is general and not particularly a problem with Abelia.
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