The glossy abelia is a hybrid of the Linnaea chinensis and Linnaea uniflora, two types of Linnea that belong to the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle) family.
Its Latin name is grandiflora which literally means “abundant flowers” referring to the clusters of white flowers the plant produces in full bloom.
The plant was initially grown in 1886 by a lake in Italy and since then, one of its cultivars, Edward Goucher, has also received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
It is commonly known by the name Abelia x grandiflora [uh-beel-ya, gran-dih-flore-uh].
Other common names of the plant include:
- Glossy abelia
- Abelia (in the UK)
Botanical names of the shrub include:
- Abelia grandiflora
- Abelia x grandiflora
- Linnaea grandiflora
- Abelia rupestris var. grandiflora.
Some common varieties of this shrub include:
- Edward Goucher
- Confetti ™ – cream-variegated foliage
- Kaleidoscope ™
- Canyon Creek
- Rose Creek
Glossy Abelia Care
Size & Growth
This shrub consists of arching branches reaching a mature size height of 3′ – 6’ feet and spread across a similar width.
The leaves grow to a length of around 1″ – 2″ inches and the flowers are around 1″ inch long.
The growth rate of this shrub is medium to fast and it may grow by around 13″ – 24” inches annually.
Flowering and Fragrance
Glossy abelia flowers on new growth and unlike most flowering shrubs which blossom in spring, the abelia bloom time is from late summer through autumn.
It is a deciduous, semi-evergreen shrub with glossy, ovate, dark green leaves and bell-shaped, showy flowers that grow in clusters of pinkish-white and thin, grey stems.
The foliage becomes purplish-bronze in autumn and completely bronze in the winter months.
The colder it gets, the more likely the shrubs are to lose foliage.
The fragrant flowers may attract butterflies to your garden.
As they fade, they leave behind coral colored sepals.
NOTE: New varieties with eye-catching flower colors of pink and yellow blooms are on the market.
Light & Temperature
Abelia thrives when grown in full sun and part shade. It is recommended for USDA hardiness zones 6-9.
The more partial shade the plant is kept in, the less dense its foliage will be.
Watering and Feeding
The plant may need to be watered frequently during the growth stage, around once a week in hot climates to ensure the soil remains moist.
As the plant matures, it doesn’t require as much watering.
During the winter months, plant-based mulch should be applied near the roots to prevent them from freezing, especially for potted abelias.
Soil & Transplanting
In order to flourish, abelia requires well-drained, slightly moist soil which is slightly acidic or of neutral pH.
It is also fairly drought-tolerant and may survive in somewhat dry soil.
Grooming and Maintenance
Pruning abelia in late winter or early spring to encourage healthy plant growth.
If you prune in spring, avoid grooming when growth has started since this will reduce the number of new flowers.
Pruning is required to keep the shrubs in shape, to prevent low hanging branches from creating too much shade and making the lower parts of the plant barren and to ensure all parts of the plant receive plenty of sunlight.
How to Propagate Glossy Abelia
Abelia may be propagated by using its cuttings:
- Early summer is the best time of the year to obtain these cuttings.
- Each one should be around 3″ – 6” inches long and should be taken from new wood growth- this is because propagation is easier through softwood rather than hardwood.
- Remove all the leaves from the lower end leaving 1-2 pairs of leaves behind.
- Place the cuttings in special potting soil mix and keep them in an area of partial shade, away from direct sunlight.
- It will take 3-4 weeks for the roots to start growing.
- Keep the soil moist, especially during the winter season.
- The abelia may be transplanted to a larger pot or gardening space in the spring season after the roots have developed.
Glossy Abelia Pest or Disease Problems
Glossy abelia is resistant to most pests (is deer resistant) and diseases and doesn’t need to be treated.
Is Grandiflora Toxic Or Poisonous?
According to the USDA, the glossy abelia is non-toxic- this applies to both humans and animals.
However, it should not be eaten since this may result in an upset stomach.
Is The Abelia Plant Invasive?
The glossy abelia is non-invasive and is considered to be a good shrub choice that grows close to the ground and adds a spot of color in your garden.
Suggested Glossy Abelia Uses
Glossy abelia may be used as an ornamental plant in a garden or as part of a shrub border.
It also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.
Since it blooms at a time when many flowering shrubs have lost their flowers, it will keep your garden looking fresh and lively.