Growing Abelia (Fragrant Abelia)

Latin Name Pronunciation: uh-beel' yuh

Abelias belong to the Honeysuckle family, and their exquisite fragrance brings to mind lazy afternoons on southern porches. Gracefully arching, multi-stemmed shrubs, Abelias have trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom on the current year's growth, and their glossy summer foliage turns shades of bronzy red and orange in fall. Some species can be killed to the ground in colder parts of their hardiness range, but will quickly re-grow. A splendid choice for shrub borders, informal hedges, and, of course, porch foundations.

Light/Watering: Full sun or partial shade. Water thoroughly after planting, and then give a new plant a good soaking once a week during summer, unless rainfall is plentiful (more than 1″ per week). Please note that more is not better; when in doubt, don't water.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH: Plant in average, well drained garden soil. We recommend against fertilizing at planting time and during the first growing season in your garden. Plants need time to settle in before being pushed to grow. Most established plants grow best if fertilized with a light hand. Here at the Farm, we fertilize shrubs and trees just once -- in early spring -- with a light but even coverage of a balanced, granular fertilizer (such 10-10-10 or an organic fertilizer).

Continuing Care: Protect from strong winds. Where marginally hardy, grow Abelia against a south-facing wall. Powdery mildew is sometimes a problem. Prune lightly to maintain shape, and remove dead and intersecting branches in late winter or early spring while the shrub is still dormant.