These pretty deciduous or evergreen shrubs are originally from China, Japan, the Himalayas and Mexico. They belong to the Honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae. Their waxy, funnel- or tubular-shaped flowers are borne in profusion and their calyxes often remain attractive long after the rest of the flower has fallen off. A. grandiflora, the Glossy Abelia, is a beautiful hybrid that grows 3 to 6 ft. high and is covered with lustrous, dark green leaves. The lightly scented, white flowers are stained with pink. They are produced from mid-summer to mid-fall singly or in clusters of up to four. A. Edward Goucher is a small, semi-evergreen hybrid with shiny, bright green leaves that are bronze when young. In the summer, large, lavender-pink flowers are produced.
Abelias can be grown in the southern half of the U.S. These plants should be planted in the spring or early autumn.
They can be grown in any average soil though they'll flourish in well-drained loam with leaf mold, compost or peat moss added. They can handle partial shade but prefer full sun. Pruning should be done in the spring. Old shoots or branches, those that have bloomed, along with dead branches and weak twigs, should be cut out. Even if they're pruned to the ground, which should happen if they're killed down in the winter, flowers will grow the same year on shoots that grow from the roots.
Cuttings, 3 inches long, may be taken from semi-woody shoots of the current year's growth in July or August. They should be inserted in sand, vermiculite or perlite in a propagating greenhouse, cold frame or under a bell jar. Keep them enclosed for four or five weeks to encourage the cuttings to develop roots. When they have a sufficient amount of roots, pot them individually in 3-inch pots filled with loam, leaf mold and sand and keep them in a cold frame for the winter. They may also be increased by layering the lower branches in the spring.
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