Adaptable & Aromatic Abelia

Aromatic Abelia Branches in Vase

Aromatic Abelia Branches in Vase

It is about that time to plant shrubs and a favorite shrub of mine is Abelia. It is a favorite of mine because its natural form presents graceful arching branches that produce a multitude of dainty fragrant blooms.  As you can see from the photo above, I enjoy trimming the branches from this shrub and bringing them inside to admire and enjoy. They aren’t exactly the kind of cut flowers I typically bring in, but I believe we would all do well to consider integrating flowers and unique branches from shrubs into our decor from time to time. After all, this summer I didn’t have many flowers to choose from due to the intense heat and drought. It was nice to find something blooming in the yard! Which brings me to the title of my post –

Abelias are very adaptable shrubs. They can tolerate full sun to part shade, alkaline to acidic soil, and moist to dry conditions. They can be trimmed as a hedge or left to thrive into their natural shape. They look nice in groups and planted as single specimens.

I have two light pink blooming Abelia Grandifloras in my landscape – one on each side of my house, which faces north. Thus I have one on the east side that gets morning sun, and one on the west that gets afternoon sun. Both are doing very well and are blooming wonderfully despite the difference of the timing of sunlight they receive. Most literature states Abelia does best in part to full sun and in fact, I have indeed seen them lining treeless highways and tollways here in North Texas, no doubt researched and planted by our Texas Department of Transportation landscapers. However, I believe Abelia does just as well in part shade. In fact, the adaptability of this shrub leads me to believe Abelia may be a good specimen plant for that particular area in your landscape that may be slightly shaded in the winter and in full sun in the summer (and vice-versa) as the earth rotates on its axis.

Abelia Grandiflora

Abelia Grandiflora

Another bonus in addition to Abelia being a blooming shrub is that the vast majority of its foliage remains on the plant during the winter, making it a semi-evergreen. And furthermore, that remaining foliage turns beautiful colors as it enters the cooler seasons. Thus, with Abelia not only do you have pretty blooms from spring to frost, but you can look forward to vibrant, colorful foliage to enjoy during the overcast of winter.

Speaking of foliage, there are many varieties of Abelia to choose from, all displaying varying shades of yellows, bronzes, reds and purples as autumn appears. As I’ve mentioned and is pictured above, there is the Abelia Grandiflora that grows up to 7 ft tall and produces light pink flowers.  Edward Goucher Abelia is another popular variety that is a hybrid of Abelia Grandiflora and grows to around 4 – 5 ft in height. Sunrise Abelia grows to 6 ft tall and is known to produce very deep red foliage in the autumn months. Another type of Abelia that is quite flamboyant is the Kaleidoscope variety.  It has white flowers and boasts striking, yellow-green to orange variegated foliage year ’round and which has, incidentally, become a new addition to my back yard.  (You can see below it is quite popular as a camouflage for our bright green anoles!)  As varieties and hybrids continue to be developed, you are sure to find the right Abelia for you.

Kaleidoscope Abelia

Kaleidoscope Abelia

Interestingly, Abelias are of the honeysuckle family.  They are typically hardy from Zone 5 southward. Although they may die back somewhat in the northern states, they will regenerate in the spring and bring forth again an abundance of graceful flowers. And, may I reiterate, you can plant them in just about any light, soil or moisture condition.

If you chose to plant Abelias in your landscape, you will surely be rewarded with beautiful flowers to cool your summers and brilliant foliage to warm your winters for years to come.

Until next time,


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