Plants

Abelia

Abelia x grandiflora

Susanne Nüsslein-Müller Susanne Nüsslein-Müller

Abelia flowers for many weeks from July, and its flowers are popular among bees and bumblebees. Here’s how to properly plant and care for Abelia x grandiflora.

Growth type
  • shrub
Growth height (from)
from 150.00cm to 300.00cm
Growth width (from)
from 150.00cm to 300.00cm
Growth characteristics
  • spherical
  • overhanging
  • bushy
Flower color
  • pink
  • white
Flowering time (month)
  • July to September
Flower shape
  • panicles
  • Funnel
Flower characteristics
  • lightly fragrant
  • hermaphroditic
Leaf color
  • green
page format
  • ovate
  • pointed
Sheet properties
  • wintergreen
  • Autumn coloring
Light
  • sunny
Soil type
  • sandy to loamy
Soil Moisture
  • moderately humid to humid
Lime compatibility
  • sensitive to lime
Humus
  • rich in humus
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower Decoration
  • Nectar or pollen plant
Winter Hardness
  • hardy
Climate zones according to USDA
  • 7
Use
  • Single position
  • Planters
  • Flower hedges
  • Winter garden
Garden style
  • natural garden
  • Pot garden
Bee Friendly
bee friendly plant

Origin

The Abelia x grandiflora hybrid was created by crossing wild species Abelia chinensis and Abelia uniflora. The Latin name “grandiflora” means “abundant flowers”. The Abelia plant genus originally came from East Asia. Until recently, it was allocated to the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae). According to the latest science, it is now part of the newly created Linnaeaceae family, along with Weigela and Snowberry (Symphoricarpos). This plant’s botanical genus name Abelia comes from American naturalist Clarke Abel, who went on many research trips to Japan and China.

Growth

This evergreen shrub can grow nearly up to 10 feet tall and wide over time. Its shoots become woody quickly, and arch over slightly. Overall, Abelia has a very rounded growth pattern. In a garden, these plants reach just under 5 feet tall and wide. Abelias tend to grow rather slowly.

Leaves

Abelia x grandiflora’s foliage is dark green, shiny and ovate with sharp tips. It has short stalks and is arranged alternately on the branches. The edges of the leaves are subtly serrated. In fall, the leaves turn yellow then red-brown, and mostly remain on the branches over winter. This is another plus point of this flowering shrub.

Flowers

Abelia grandiflora is a shrub that flowers in summer. Its flowering period extends from early July to late September. Its hermaphroditic funnel-shaped flowers have five petals and four stamens. Its flowers are white with a touch of pink on the outside and a pleasant scent. They form in panicles at the ends of shoots. The five bronze-colored sepals surrounding the white flowers create a lovely contrast. This shrub’s flowers are frequented by bees and bumblebees, so make a valuable contribution to late summer honey.

Abelia x grandiflora flowers

Abelia x grandiflora’s flowers are highly regarded among insects

Fruit

The fertilized flowers form singular achenes, indehiscent fruits with leathery outer skins.

Location

Abelia likes a sunny location to encourage lush flowering. This plant also tolerates slight shade without losing too much of its flower power.

Soil

Abelia grandiflora thrives best in humus-rich soils that are not too limey and sufficiently moist.

Planting

It’s best to plant Abelia in spring after the threat of frost is over. Until the plant has properly rooted, it’s important to regularly water the shrub in dry, warm weather over summer. If growing in a pot, provide a drainage layer and pick a pot a couple inches larger than the nursery pot the plant was bought in.

Care

In principle, this plant is low-maintenance and robust. If you grow Abelia grandiflora, ensure the soil is sufficiently moist. The root ball soil should not dry out in summer. In spring, give potted plants a dose of slow-release fertilizer for flowering plants.

Pruning

As Abelia grandiflora is rather a slow grower and forms flowers on one-year-old wood, it does not require regular pruning. Individual shoots that have grown too long or died off may be cut back in early spring as needed.

Winter protection

Abelias are not completely winter hardy in temperate zones. They tolerate temperatures down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, they are mostly grown in pots in colder zones. If these shrubs are planted out in the ground, they should be covered with a layer of bark mulch or leaves in fall.

Use

This compact shrub is also suitable for growing as a potted plant thanks to its leaves that remain on the plant through winter and its long flowering period. This makes overwintering easier. Abelia grandiflora can spend winter in a cool conservatory or frost-free greenhouse or even in a covered position against a wall protected from the morning sun. If planted out in mild climate zones, it can be integrated into mixed flowering hedges or planted as a solitary shrub.

Abelia x grandiflora as a potted plant

Abelia x grandiflora still flowers majestically in pots

Varieties

Alongside the original cross with white flowers, there is now the bright pink flowering variety of Abelia grandiflora “Edward Goucher” as well as “Sparkling Silver” with pink flowers among white-green variegated foliage.

Propagation

Abelia can be propagated in May by taking semi-mature terminal cuttings. Simply cut the ends off some strong shoots, around 3.94 to 4.72 inches from the tips. The top third of these cuttings should be cut and the leaves removed from the bottom third. The finished cuttings should be deeply potted up into a mixture of sand and soil in groups. Wet the soil and leave the cuttings in a bright but not too sunny location under cover.

Diseases and Pests

When new growth begins in spring, check your Abelia grandiflora for aphids. Aside from this, the plant is not very vulnerable to plant diseases.

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