Abelia grandiflora (Linnaea × grandiflora), commonly called glossy abelia is a flowering shrub that makes a perfect addition to garden borders, beds, and screens in the right climates. Here, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about growing and caring for Abelia grandiflora, including planting, soil considerations, light preferences, feeding, pruning, and over-winter care.
Growing Abelia grandiflora Basics:
|Abelia x grandiflora
|Also Known As:
|Linnaea x grandiflora, glossy abelia
|5 to 9
|May to September
|Low-maintenance and easy to grow. Perfect for beginners.
|Type of Plant:
|Deciduous (partially evergreen) flowering shrub
|Full sun to partial shade
|Temp & Humidity:
|Evergreen down to around 0°F. Deciduous in colder climates. Plants can tolerate infrequent exposure to temperatures down to -5°F with mulch protecting roots from frost. Prefers moderate humidity.
|Moderate moisture needs. Provide 1 inch of water per week during the growing season and more in high heat and/or low humidity. Keep soil evenly moist in winter when there is no threat of frost.
|Moist, but well-draining, acidic to slightly alkaline soil with a pH between 5 to 7.5
|Apply a granular, balanced, 10-10-10, slow-release fertilizer after the final frost in spring and again midway through summer.
|Mature plants achieve 3 to 6 feet in height with an equal spread.
|Non-toxic to people and animals
How to Grow Abelia grandiflora
The Best Locations for Planting
The best locations for planting glossy abelia include a southwest-facing, slightly sheltered spot that receives full sun to partial shade with well-draining soil and room for the plant to spread 3 to 6 feet.
These shrubs are perfect for filling in a bed or border’s middle or back portion, creating screens and hedgerows, separating garden areas, and filling in wall-side borders. They look lovely in courtyards, city, informal, cottage, and traditional types of gardens.
Glossy abelia can also be grown in a large container but must be moved to a warm location for overwintering.
When to Plant
Glossy abelia can be successfully planted in either the spring or fall. However, plants planted in the fall tend to experience more successful regrowth.
Growing From Seeds vs. Nursery Plants
A sterile hybrid plant, Abelia grandiflora does not produce seeds and, thus, cannot be grown from seed. To get started, you will need to purchase the plants from a nursery. Abelia grandiflora can then be propagated from cuttings.
What to Do Before Planting
Before planting glossy abelia, identify a location in your garden that receives ample sunlight, doesn’t retain water, and offers enough space for the shrub to grow. Then, test your soil to ensure it’s in the appropriate pH range (5 to 7.5).
Next, gather up any tools and supplies you might need for planting, such as a trowel for digging a hole, compost for amending the soil, fertilizer pellets for feeding the plant, and mulch for increasing moisture around the plant’s roots.
Best Soil Types
The best soil for glossy abelia is acidic to slightly alkaline, moist but well-draining and rich with organic material.
Planting in the Ground:
- Dig a hole 2 to 3 times the height and width of your plant’s root ball.
- Assess your soil and, if necessary, amend it with sand or perlite to improve drainage, bark or peat moss to improve moisture retention, and compost or bagged topsoil to increase richness.
- Place your plant in the hole so that the top of its roots is at or just above ground level.
- Start filling in the hole with amended soil mixture, tamping down the soil as you go to remove air pockets.
- When half-full, soak with water and continue filling in with soil until the hole is filled.
- Water thoroughly and add more soil if necessary to ensure the top of the soil is level with the ground.
- To improve moisture retention and protect roots in the winter, add a 1 to 2-inch layer of mulch.
Planting in a Container:
- Choose a well-draining container 2 to 3 times the size of your plant’s root ball.
- Line the container’s bottom with porous landscaping fabric to prevent the drainage holes from clogging.
- Use a well-draining potting mix that’s 1 part topsoil and 1 part sand or perlite.
- Add enough soil to the bottom of the container so the top of the plant’s root ball rests about 2 inches below the rim.
- Fill in with soil around the root ball.
- Gently pat down the soil and water thoroughly, allowing the soil to settle.
- Add more soil to the top of the container so that it comes to about 2 inches below the top.
Glossy abelia thrives in full sun to partial shade and needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to achieve optimal foliage color and density.
Temperature and Humidity Preferences
Glossy abelia grows in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. It can survive winter temperatures that infrequently dip to -5°F. However, extensive damage can occur at 0°F. All stem growth above ground will die in these cooler climates, and plants will need to grow back each spring season.
In warmer climates (USDA zones 7 to 9), glossy abelia is evergreen and retains its foliage throughout the winter.
Glossy abelia prefers moderate humidity. Mulching is highly recommended in cold and arid climates to retain moisture and protect roots from frost.
How to Care for Abelia grandiflora
Glossy abelia has moderate moisture needs. Provide your shrubs with 1 inch of water each week during the growing season. Water more frequently when the weather is particularly hot and/or dry.
If uncertain, use a moisture meter, soil probe, or trowel to test the soil. Water when the top 2 or 3 inches of soil is dry.
Fertilizing glossy abelia improves growth, foliage, and blossoms.
Apply a granular, balanced, 10-10-10, slow-release fertilizer above your glossy abelia’s root system in spring after the last frost and once again halfway through the summer.
Pruning and Cutting Back
To control the shape and encourage new growth in the spring, prune your abelia plant during its winter dormancy, using hedge cutters or pruning shears to cut stems back.
Pruning during the growing season is not recommended unless removing a stray branch, as blossoming occurs on new stem growth.
Just beneath the blossom, cutting away spent flowers keeps the plant healthy and encourages more flowers and growth.
The simplest method for propagating glossy abelia uses softwood cuttings.
During the summer growing season, use sterile pruning shears to snip 6-inch-long cuttings from new growth on the plant. Remove the lower leaves, allowing only 1 or 2 pairs of leaves to remain on the stem.
Poke the cuttings into a potting mix with plant growth hormone. Over the rest of the summer, fall, and winter, place the cuttings in filtered sunlight in a warm location and keep the potting mix evenly moist. Transplant in spring.
Before the first frost, add a 1 to 2-inch layer of mulch to the soil above the plant’s root system. Once the plant enters winter dormancy, it can be pruned.
Even when you start out with a large pot, glossy abelia grown in containers needs to be repotted every 2 to 3 years.
To repot yours, simply select a well-draining container larger than your plant’s current pot and follow the same planting instructions above.
Glossy abelia isn’t prone to many problems. or common garden pests, making it perfect for amateur gardeners.
Signs of Common Problems
- Not Flowering – If your abelia isn’t flowering, it could result from too much pruning or cutting it back after the growing season has begun. Do not prune during spring and summer.
- Floppy Stems – Abelia stems that grow more quickly can become weak. These can be supported or trimmed to improve the plant’s appearance but remember that pruning in spring can prevent flowering.
- Drooping Leaves – Droopy leaves can indicate too much moisture. Reduce your watering schedule.
- Crisp Leaves – Crisp leaves or shedding leaves in the growing season could indicate thirst. Increase your watering schedule.
Common Pests and Diseases
Glossy abelia is resistant to most pests and diseases. However, it can occasionally experience problems with aphids.
The best way to address aphids is by introducing more of their natural predators into their habitat – ladybugs! You can purchase packets of ladybugs at your local gardening store and release them in your glossy abelia shrubs.
- Balanced, slow-release fertilizer
- Soil probe or moisture meter
- Pruning shears
Growing Abelia grandiflora FAQs
Is Abelia grandiflora hardy?
Abelia grandiflora is winter hardy in USDA growing zones 5 to 9.
How big does Abelia grandiflora get?
Abelia grandiflora grows to be between 3 to 6 feet wide and tall.
What do you do with Abelia grandiflora over the winter?
In the winter, Abelia grandiflora should be mulched and pruned.
Is Abelia grandiflora invasive?
Abelia grandiflora is a sterile hybrid that does not produce seeds and is not invasive.
Is Abelia grandiflora a perennial?
Abelia grandiflora is a perennial.
Will Abelia grandiflora grow in shade?
Abelia grandiflora prefers full sun but can grow in partial shade as long as it receives at least 6 hours of daily sunlight.
Is Abelia grandiflora poisonous to humans?
Abelia grandiflora is not toxic to people or animals.
Glossy Abelia, a Low-Maintenance Stunner
Adding glossy abelia to your borders or beds adds impact year-round in the right climates and lovely flowers for months on end!
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.