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Step-by-Step Guide to Growing and Caring for Abelia grandiflora

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 we’ll take you through everything you need to know about growing and caring for Abelia grandiflora at home including planting, soil considerations, light preferences, feeding, pruning, and over-winter care.


How to Grow Abelia grandiflora – The Essentials

Botanical Name:Abelia x grandiflora
Also Known As:Linnaea x grandiflora, glossy abelia
Hardiness Zones:5 to 9
Flowering Months:May to September
Growing Difficulty:Low-maintenance and easy to grow. Perfect for beginners.
Type of Plant:Deciduous (partially evergreen) flowering shrub
Light Requirements: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.
Watering Needs: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.
Soil Preferences:Moist, but well-draining, acidic to slightly alkaline soil with a pH between 5 to 7.5
Feeding:Apply a granular, balanced, 10-10-10, slow-release fertilizer after the final frost in spring and again midway through summer.
Growth Expectations:Mature plants achieve 3 to 6 feet in height with an equal spread.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to people and animals

About Abelia grandiflora

About Abelia grandiflora

Abelia grandiflora Taxonomy

Abelia x grandiflora is a hybrid species of flowering shrub in the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle) plant family belonging to the Abelia genus. It is commonly called glossy abelia.

In 2013, due to hereditary models based on molecular research, plants in the Abelia genus were officially moved to the Linnaea genus and a few other genera. As a result, Abelia x grandiflora is sometimes classified as Linnaea grandiflora. The change, however, has been largely rejected in scientific literature.

Abelia grandiflora Place of Nativity, Origins, and History

First cultivated in 1886 at the Rovelli Nursery of Lake Maggiore in Italy, glossy abelia is a man-made hybrid. This means it is not native to any specific area in the world.

However, Abelia grandiflora‘s two parent plants, L. chinensis and L. uniflora, are native to parts of East Asia.

Botanical Characteristics

Botanical Characteristics

Glossy abelia shrubs produce multiple, woody stems. They spread circularly with deep-green, ovate leaves and produce clusters of fragrant, bell-shaped flowers that are white with a delicate, rosy pink tinge.

Uses and Benefits of Abelia grandiflora

Abelia grandiflora offers a range of benefits for your garden, including:

Pollinators

With slightly fragrant flowers, abundantly blossoming for months at a time, glossy abelia attracts both bees and butterflies.

Ornamental

Glossy abelia is primarily prized as an ornamental plant thanks to both its pretty, long-blooming flowers and foliage that is evergreen in warmer growing zones.

Erosion Control

Plant glossy abelia shrubs en masse in sloped areas to help prevent and control erosion.

When Is Abelia grandiflora in Season and Blooming?

When Is Abelia grandiflora in Season and Blooming?

Glossy abelia’s growing season begins after the final frost in spring. They bloom abundantly from May into September.

Abelia grandiflora Growth Expectations

Glossy abelia shrubs grow at a medium to fast rate compared to other plants. Each year, they can achieve between 1 to 2 feet per year. Mature plants can reach 3 to 6 feet in height with an equal, circular spread.

The Best Companion Plants for Abelia grandiflora

When choosing companion plants for glossy abelia, look for those that will complement abelia’s height and foliage while thriving in a similar environment, such as:

  • Daphne spirea (Spiraea japonica “Alpina”)
  • Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac)
  • Silver dragon lilyturf (Liriope spicata “Silver Dragon”)
  • Sun stripe agapanthus (Agapanthus africanus “MonKageyama”)
  • First love cheddar pink (Dianthus “First Love”)
  • Red fox spike speedwell (Veronica spicata “Red Fox”)
  • Holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum “Rochfordianum”)
  • Rosy Australian maidenhair fern (Adiantum hispidulum)

How to Grow Abelia grandiflora

How to Grow Abelia grandiflora

The Best Locations for Planting Abelia grandiflora

The best locations for planting glossy abelia include a southwest-facing, slightly sheltered spot that received 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 the middle or back portion of a bed or border, creating screens and hedgerows, separating garden areas, and filling in wall-side borders. They look wonderful in courtyard, 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 Abelia grandiflora

Glossy abelia can be successfully planted in either the spring or fall. Glossy abelia planted in the fall, however, tend to experience more successful regrowth.

Growing Abelia grandiflora From Seeds vs. Nursery Plants

Growing Abelia grandiflora 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 with these plants, you will need to purchase them from a nursery. Abelia grandiflora can then be propagated from cuttings.

What to Do Before Planting Abelia grandiflora

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.

What’s the Best Soil for Abelia grandiflora?

What's the Best Soil for Abelia grandiflora?

The best soil for glossy abelia is acidic to slightly alkaline, moist but well-draining and rich with organic material.

How to Plant Abelia grandiflora

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 that is 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 becoming clogged.
  • 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 that the top of the plant’s root ball rests about 2 inches below the container’s rim.
  • Fill in with soil around the root ball.
  • Gently pat down 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 of the container.

Light Preferences

Light Preferences

Glossy abelia thrives in full sun to partial shade. These plants need a minimum of 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. To retain moisture and protect roots from frost, mulching is highly recommended in cold and arid climates.


How to Care for Abelia grandiflora

How to Care for Abelia grandiflora

Watering

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.

How, When, and Why to Fertilize

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

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.

Unless removing a stray branch, pruning during the growing season is not recommended as blossoming occurs on new stem growth.

Deadheading

Just beneath the blossom, cutting away spent flowers keeps the plant healthy and encourages more flowers and growth.

Propagation

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.

Overwintering

Overwintering

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.

When and How to Repot Container-Grown Abelia grandiflora

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.


Common Abelia grandiflora Problems and How to Treat Them

Common Abelia grandiflora Problems and How to Treat Them

Glossy abelia isn’t prone to many problems, diseases, or pests, making it perfect for amateur gardeners.

Signs of Common Problems

  • Not Flowering – If your abelia isn’t flowering, it could be a result of too much pruning or cutting it back after the growing season has begun. Refrain from pruning 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 indcate 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.


Essential Tools for Abelia grandiflora Care

Essential Tools for Abelia grandiflora Care
  • Trowel
  • Mulch
  • Balanced, slow-release fertilizer
  • Soil probe or moisture meter
  • Pruning shears

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!


Growing Abelia Plants at Home:

For more, see our essential guide to growing Abelia Kaleidoscope in your garden.


Growing Abelia grandiflora FAQs

Abelia grandiflora is winter hardy in USDA growing zones 5 to 9.

Abelia grandiflora grows to be between 3 to 6 feet wide and tall.

In the winter, Abelia grandiflora should be mulched and pruned.

Abelia grandiflora is a sterile hybrid that does not produce seeds and is not invasive.

Abelia grandiflora is a perennial.

Abelia grandiflora prefers full sun but can grow in partial shade as long as it receives at least 6 hours of daily sunlight.

Abelia grandiflora is not toxic to people or animals.


Editorial Director | Full Bio | + posts

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.

Author

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.

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