Planting Abelia Bushes – Tips For Growing And Caring For Abelia Plants

Planting Abelia Bushes – Tips For Growing And Caring For Abelia Plants

By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Abelia shrubs are one of those old fashioned plants that became popular because of interesting foliage, showy flowers, reliable performance, and simple abelia care. Learn how to grow abelia in your landscape for these characteristics. Newer cultivars of the glossy abelia plant provide a range of colors and forms.

Abelia shrubs, Abelia grandiflora, have attractive foliage, which partially accounts for their longtime use in the landscape. The evergreen abelia has red foliage throughout the summer, becoming even deeper and more brilliant in autumn through winter. Flowers offer several bursts of bloom from spring to fall, with clusters of fragrant and frilly pink and white tubular flowers. In colder areas of the country, the glossy abelia plant is considered semi-evergreen, as it may lose half its leaves in cold winters.

How to Grow Abelia

When planting abelia in your yard, choose a prominent spot, as abelia shrubs are no longer just to hide the foundation of your home. Also, choose a spot that gets full to partial sun.

The glossy abelia plant grows in a variety of soil types, but responds best to a fertile soil amended with organic material.

Abelia Care and Pruning

Little is needed with regards to the care of these shrubs, though regular watering improves performance.

When growing the standard Abelia grandiflora, leave room for the plant to spread to 6 feet (2 m.) and reach 6 to 10 feet (2-3 m.) in height. The habit of the glossy abelia plant is to spread. Newer cultivars are more compact and require less pruning, therefore, abelia care is less time consuming.

  • ‘Lavender Mist’ spreads only slightly, with gray green foliage that becomes a purplish red in fall and a deep purple in winter. Blooms on these compact abelia shrubs are lavender and white, with two heavy bloom periods in June and August. Prune this abelia in early spring once established.
  • ‘Plum Surprise’ is another of the newer offerings, with less flowering and more finely textured foliage. Arching stems sport yellow-green leaves which become emerald in summer, turning burgundy as temperatures cool. Reddish stems often bear single flowers that appear white on first glance, but when examined closely, have a purple blush and yellow throat. This glossy abelia plant is tolerant of drought and summer heat once established in the landscape. Abelia care for this cultivar includes early spring pruning.

Now that you’ve learned how to grow abelia and the diversity of its cultivars, add one or more in your yard. Planting abelia will be an asset to your landscape.

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How to Fertilize Abelia

Abelia is a genus of evergreen or semi-evergreen flowering shrubs that grow in USDA Zones 5 through 9. There are more than 30 different species and cultivars that flower in hues of pink, orange, white or purple over deep green glossy foliage. Abelia is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions but does demand moist but still easy draining soil. Abelia is not a heavy feeder and benefits from slow-release fertilizers that provide nutrients to the soil gently over time.

Fertilize your abelia shrubs twice per year with a 10-10-10 slow-release fertilizer formulation. Apply the fertilizer in the spring after the last frost has passed and again in mid-summer. This will supply a boost of nutrients to the soil just as the plant is in its peak growth period.

  • Abelia is a genus of evergreen or semi-evergreen flowering shrubs that grow in USDA Zones 5 through 9.
  • There are more than 30 different species and cultivars that flower in hues of pink, orange, white or purple over deep green glossy foliage.

Scatter the fertilizer around the root area of the shrub in a wide doughnut formation. Use the amount of fertilizer recommended on the product label for the size and age of your abelia. Start the fertilizer a few inches out from the trunk and extend at least a few inches past the drip line of the shrub.

Scratch the fertilizer granules into the top few inches of soil with a rake or cultivating fork. Water the soil and fertilizer deeply until the soil is drenched at least 6 to 8 inches down.

How to Grow Abelia

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Abelias, semi-evergreen shrubs, produce medium to dark green variegated or solid leaves. They bloom fragrant pink or white flowers at the end of summer and throughout fall. Abelia varieties include glossy abelia (Abelia x grandiflora), variegated "Kaleidoscope" (Abelia x grandiflora "Kaleidoscope"), pink abelia (Abelia x "Edward Goucher") and Chinese abelia (Abelia chinensis). They grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. Abelias grow best in well-drained, moist soil and full sun or partial shade. Depending on the variety, abelias can grow between 18 inches and 8 feet tall.

Water abelia deeply once a week throughout spring, summer and fall. Fertilize with a 10-10-10 general purpose granular or water-soluble fertilizer after planting and once a month throughout the spring and summer. Reduce watering to once a month in winter.

Deadhead spent flowers and trim off dead or woody branches after blooming to shape the plant. Cut the stems down to the ground in the winter or early spring.

Kill aphids or other pests by spraying the foliage thoroughly with insecticidal soap once a week. Once the pests are gone, stop spraying.

Cut off the new shoots and tips with pruning shears throughout the growing season to help maintain the shape.

  • Fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew and anthracnose, can affect abelia plants. Spray leaves with a mixture of 2 tablespoons neem oil, 2 tablespoon insecticidal soap and 1 gallon of water about once a week to help eradicate the fungus. Mix the solution well before spraying to incorporate all of the ingredients.

Shelley Marie has been writing professionally since 2008 for online marketing and informational websites. Her areas of expertise include home, garden and health. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration and an associate degree in medical billing and insurance coding, both from Herzing University.

Pruning and caring for glossy abelia

When and how to prune your Abelia

To prune a glossy abelia well, consider that annual pruning at the end of winter or the beginning of spring encourages growth and blooming of the shrub. Prune before spring growth has started in earnest, because flowers appear on new growth. Pruning new growth from your abelia means less flowers will appear.

The pruning can be severe if needed. Best results are when you shape the shrub to help it keep a dense, opaque bearing and leafage.

  • You must prune according to the shape you plan to give it.
  • Whenever branches grow on several levels, over-shading will cause lower branches to grow sparse and leafless.
  • Pruning abelia to low, ground-hugging shapes is most common and ensures all branches get plenty of sun.

Abelia diseases and pests

Since glossy abelia resists most diseases and parasites very well, normally you won’t need to treat it.

Q. Price of glossy Abelia

What is the plant glossy abelia priice, and do you ship?

We do not sell plants. We only offer information regarding their growth, and other knowledge. I would check your local nurseries, or an online nursery, as they can usually ship just about anywhere.

Taking Care of Abelia

Feed young or heavily pruned plants annually with a balanced fertiliser. Water well until established.

Pruning Abelia

Trim to keep in shape only. Give Abelia a general tidy up after flowering by cutting back old wood and straggly/leggy shoots. Cut back any frost-damaged stems to sound wood in late spring.

Flowers only on old wood so some loss of flower will occur if pruned heavily.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free.

Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora)


Adds texture to the landscape with outstanding glossy evergreen foliage. Arching branches carry clusters of slightly fragrant, tubular blooms. The flowers attract butterflies to the garden.

Beautiful grouped or massed in a shrub border. Perfectly suited to informal, naturalized settings. Great for texture in borders, use for hedging or foundations.

Plant Feed

Slow release feed in spring.


Well-drained, slightly acidic soil.

Basic Care Summary

For best results, plant in acidic, fertile but well-drained soil. Keep soil moist, watering freely in dry weather. Prune back early each spring for best display.

Planting Instructions

Plant in spring or early fall to give plants the best start.

Choose a location that will allow roots to spread and branches to grow freely. Space plants far enough from building foundations, walls, and decks so that the growing foliage won't crowd the structure. Consider whether tall trees or shrubs will block windows or interfere with the roof or power lines.

To prepare the planting area dig a hole as deep as the root ball and three times as wide. After removing the soil, mix it with some compost or peat moss. This enriches the soil and loosens the existing dirt so that new roots can spread easily.

To remove the plant from the container, gently brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot. The container can also be removed by carefully cutting it down the side.

Set the plant in the hole. If the root ball is wrapped in burlap fabric this must now be removed along with any string or wire securing the burlap. If roots are tightly packed gently rake them apart with your fingers.

Return the soil to the planting area packing it firmly around the root ball. Fill the hole until the soil line is just at the base of the plant, where the roots begin to flare out from the main stem.

Water the plant well then add a 2” (5cm) layer of mulch, such as shredded bark, around the planting area. Keep the mulch at least 4” (10cm) away from the trunk of the plant as this can keep the bark too moist and cause it to decay.

Watering Instructions

Depending on rainfall, new plants need to be watered weekly through the first growing season. A slow, one-hour trickle of water should do the job. During hot spells thoroughly soaking the ground up to 8” (20 cm) every few days is better than watering a little bit daily. Deep watering encourages roots to grow further into the ground resulting in a sturdier plant with more drought tolerance.

To check for soil moisture use your finger or a hand trowel to dig a small hole and examine the soil. If the first 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, it is time to water.

Monitor new plants through the first two years to make sure they are getting the moisture they need. After that they should be sturdy enough to survive on their own.

Fertilizing Instructions

Established trees should be fertilized every 2-3 years. Feed in early spring when plants start growing.

Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product designed for trees and shrubs, or go with a nutritionally balanced, general-purpose formula such as 10-10-10.

Always follow the fertilizer package directions for application rates and scheduling. Over-fertilizing plants or applying at the wrong time during the growing season can result in plant injury.

Pruning Instructions

Pruning may be needed to remove dead branches, encourage bushier growth, promote more flowers, or maintain a specific size or shape.

Dead branches should be removed close to the trunk, flush with the bark. When pruning to control a plant's size or shape, cuts should be made just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle. This bud will be where the new growth sprouts.

Many shrubs can be regularly sheared to keep them shaped as a hedge, edging or formal foundation planting.

Always use sharp, clean tools when pruning. There are many tools available depending on the job. Hand shears, pruners, and loppers are ideal for most shrubs. Pole pruners and tree saws are better for large, mature shrubs or trees. If a tree is so large that it can't be safely pruned with a pole pruner, it is best to call in a professional tree service.

Watch the video: How to grow Rose Creek Abelia with detailed description