Abelia shrubs are adaptable, low-maintenance shrubs with broad evergreen leaves and delicate flowers. These shrubs can be planted in sun or shade. Though they are low maintenance and generally immune to pest problems and diseases, proper placing in the landscape, ample water and fertilization, and some pruning is required to keep Abelia shrubs looking their best.
There are a variety of different Abelia shrubs from which to choose. Glossy Abelia, or Abelia x grandiflora, is a hybrid in the Abelia genus commonly planted in gardens and landscapes. From this hybrid, several cultivars have been developed. These include Edward Goucher, Sunrise, Little Richard, Kaleidoscope, Sherwoodii and Canyon Creek.
The flower color, height and spread of Abelia shrubs varies depending on the species and cultivar, but they do share similarities. The shrubs typically flower from late spring through early fall and produce clusters of white or pink flowers set against the glossy foliage. The shrubs grow between 3 and 6 feet (about 0.9 to 1.8 m) tall with an equal spread. The branches curve gracefully down to the ground, creating a neat cascading look.
Abelia shrubs grow well in full sun or in partly shaded areas, making them versatile in the landscape. They can be planted as part of a foundation planting or included in border areas and shrub beds. Abelia can also be planted as hedges in areas that get a mixture of full sun and part shade. For the best flowering however, Abelia should be planted in areas that get full sun.
Established Abelia shrubs can tolerate some drought conditions, but newly planted shrubs require consistent moisture. Fall is the best time to plant a new Abelia shrub, as fall-planted shrubs have the winter and damp early spring months to get established before the next growing season. When planting Abelia in late spring or summer, it is important to keep the shrub well watered during dry periods.
Abelia shrubs should be pruned in late winter before the first green buds emerge. A third of the oldest stems should be cut down at the soil line to rejuvenate the shrub and encourage healthy new growth. Dead and broken branches should be removed whenever they are noticed.
Two fertilizer applications a year, once in spring and again in mid summer provide Abelia shrubs with sufficient nutrients. A balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer works well for most soil types. Fertilizer application methods vary from one product to the next, so it is important follow product instructions to determine how much to use and the best method for application.