Arching boughs of pink abelia blossoms.

With indiscriminate pruning, glossy abelia, Abelia X grandiflora, will never develop its natural form, with elegantly long and thin stems that arch gracefully outward. Sadly, almost all get shorn into tight shrubbery or hedges that rarely bloom. If only old stems get selectively pruned out as they get replaced by fresh new stems, mature shrubs can get eight feet tall and twelve feet wide.

Against their bronzy green foliage, the tiny pale pink flowers that bloom all summer have a rustic appeal. In abundance, they can be slightly fragrant. The tiny leaves are not much more than an inch long. Vigorous young canes that shoot nearly straight out from the roots slowly bend from the weight of their bloom and foliage as they mature.

Partial shade is not a problem for glossy abelia, but will inhibit bloom somewhat. Young plants want to be watered regularly. Old plants are not nearly so demanding, and can survive with notably less water. If alternating canes is too much work to restore old and neglected plants, all stems can be cut back to the ground at the end of winter. New growth develops quickly.

6 thoughts on “Glossy Abelia

  1. I recently had those added to my landscape. The bees, hummingbird moths, and hummingbirds love them and I find they are fragrant, especially in the morning. I’m glad I saw your article and I am pruning them properly. And I did not have the information to cut the old canes, but that’s what I had in mind.

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    1. I was hesitant to wrote about it because I dislike the species so much. Except for those that are abandoned, I never see any that are allowed to assume their natural form. They are always shorn into rounded over globs that are deprived of any hope for bloom. I suspect that they are appreciated more in other regions, where horticulture is taken more seriously.

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  2. There is one in our courtyard that seems to bloom almost continuously, though I’m sure I’m wrong about that. Certainly, it blooms all summer and into the fall, then takes a rest and starts over in late spring…

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    1. It would not be too far fetched. There are some in sunny spots in town that bloom through all but the longest and coolest parts of winter. If there were enough warm weather mixed in with the cool, it probably would bloom continuously.

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