If you have been hearing the humming of busy bees, the sound may very well be coming from your neighborhood Abelias. As autumn draws near, Abeilas begin to bloom with pretty pink or white funnel-shape flowers perfect for bumble bees to stuff their fuzzy bodies into.
The plant generously provides so many flowers, that bees have a full-time job collecting pollen from just one plant. Small glossy leaves set a nice back-drop for flowers in fall, and on a few forms, the leaves steal the show with bright gold or pink or cream variegation.
Abelias are easy and reliable plants in the landscape as well, requiring just a bit of pruning and watering while getting established.
Glossy Abelia - A. x grandiflora (A. chinensis x A. uniflora)
- White flowers
- Glossy dark green leaves – semi-evergreen
- Upright arching habit
- 6-8 feet tall & wide
Abelia x grandiflora ‘Kaleidoscope’
- White flowers
- Dramatic lime, coral and gold leaves – semi-evergreen
- Low & compact growth 18-24” tall x 24-36” wide
Pink Abelia - Abelia x grandiflora ‘Edward Goucher’
- Pink Flowers
- Dark green glossy leaves – semi-evergreen
- Broad dense round habit
- Grows to 3-5 feet tall & wide
Chinese Abelia - Abelia chinensis
- Fragrant pink flowers in large clusters that resemble lilacs
- Green deciduous leaves
- Arching open habit
- Grows to 4-6 feet tall & wide
Genus: Abelia uh-BEE-lee-uh Named after Clark Abel (1780-1826) who introduced A. chinensis
Origin: Native to Himalaya, Japan, China & Mexico
Characteristics: The genus is comprised of about 15 species of small to medium-size semi-evergreen to deciduous shrubs. Shrubs are multi-stemmed with arching habits, are sometimes awkward in youth and appreciative of pruning and support to develop a strong branching structure.
Flowers: Small and plentiful flowers occur in clusters of 1-8 with light sweet scent. White to pink flowers begin to bloom in late summer and last into November. Decorative sepals often persist after the rest of the flower has fallen.
Foliage: Leaves are opposite, green or green variegated with cream, gold or pink.
Size: Plants range in size from 12-18 inches tall to 6-8 feet tall.
Light: Sun or part shade. Plants grown in shade will have decreased flowering and a more open structure, but will otherwise do just fine.
Soil: Slightly acid, moist peaty soil is ideal. Portland has acid soil, so no worries there, but adding compost to the soil when planting will help to increase drainage in primarily clay or sandy soil.
Diseases: Aphids sometimes bother Abelias and they will sometimes develop leaf-spot, but neither is serious.
Hardiness: Hardy to -5 to -10f - USDA Z6-9 Root-hardy in Z5