The glossy abelia (Abelia x grandifolia) can be either a deciduous or evergreen shrub depending on the warmth of the location where it is grown. It has a beautiful arching form and is covered with an abundance of pink flowers every year in the summer. They also add color to your garden in the fall when the leaves change to bronze, red or purple depending on the variety.
This is Abelia x grandiflora and it is part of the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle) family. The x indicates that this is a hybrid. In this case, the parents are Abelia chinensis and Abelia uniflora.
Examples of related plants in this family include viburnum shrubs according to some (others now have it in the Adoxaceae family), cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis), common elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and seven son flower (Heptacodium miconioides.)
The only name commonly used for this shrub is glossy abelia.
Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones
This shrub can be considered by those gardeners who live in Zones 6-9. In the cooler zones, it will be deciduous and should be planted in a site that offers protection from the elements. It originally comes from Italy.
Size and Shape
The mature size of glossy abelia is 3-6' tall and wide. It forms into a rounded shape and the branches are arched.
Choose a spot where there is full sun or partial shade. You can maximize your blossom potential by aiming for full sun.
The shiny dark green leaves are .79-1.5" long and ovate in shape. In the fall they become bronze or reddish.
The mildly fragrant blossoms are shaped like bells and white to barely pink. They are surrounded at the base by purple sepals. Each can be up to 1" long and form in clusters. This is an excellent choice if you want flowers in the summer and fall. It can also start blooming at the end of spring.
The fruit that results from pollination is a small sterile achene that should not be planted as it will not grow.
If you want a shorter shrub, look for the 'Compacta', 'Conti', 'Dwarf Purple' and 'Little Richard'. 'Conti' is marketed as Confetti™ and also sports variegated foliage. 'Prostrata' can be used as a ground cover since it has, as the name suggests, a prostrate habit.
As the name suggests, 'Dwarf Purple' has purple leaves when the colors change in the fall. The same is true for 'Sherwoodii'.
This plant can be used as part of a garden designed to attract hummingbirds and/or butterflies. Drought tolerance is a characteristic. Use several shrubs to cover a slope that is prone to erosion.
The soil at your planting spot should be moist, acidic and offer good drainage for the best results. This hybrid is sterile and will not have seeds. You can propagate this shrub through the use of cuttings.
There is not usually much pruning needed to keep glossy abelia looking tidy. You may prune from fall to spring as needed, such as taking care of any parts that are dead, damaged, and diseased. Summer pruning may be stressful due to the heat and potential drought. Blossoms are produced on branches from the current year, so flowering is not affected much by pruning.
Pests and Diseases
There are fortunately not many problems with pests and diseases usually. You may find that the shrub can become infested with aphids. Look around and make sure there are not also ant colonies nearby since they help take care of the aphids. Spray water at the aphids to knock them off, making sure you do it earlier in the day so the plant has a chance to dry off, especially in cooler weather. You can also use horticultural oil, though you should not use it on warmer days or it may scorch the leaves.