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Abelia Care

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

Abelias (Abelia x grandiflora) are showy, flowering shrubs that feature a profusion of trumpet-shaped blooms in the summer, followed by colorful autumn foliage. Some species of abelia are deciduous, meaning the leaves drop in the fall, while others are semi-evergreen, losing some--but not all--of their leaves. While specific care needs can vary slightly, in general, albelia shrubs have the same basic care needs regardless of species or cultivar.


Abelias need a lot of sunlight to thrive. Plant these shrubs in a location that receives a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day. Ideally, the amount of sunlight should be between eight and twelve hours. With enough sunlight, albelias will continue to bloom all summer long. The shrubs are hardy in USDA growing zones 5 though 9.


Abelias are fairly hardy shrubs that can grow well in all types of soil, save salty soil. Still, they thrive best in rich, well-draining soil. Like many shrubs, they will develop root rot if left to sit in very wet or boggy soil for too long. Heavy soils such as clay should be amended with peat moss or compost before planting an abelia.


Abelias in general have a moderate tolerance for drought conditions. Newly planted abelias should be watered thoroughly upon planting, then throughout the growing season when the top three inches of soil dry out. Slow, deep waterings, as achieved with a soaking or drip hose, are best. Established abelia shrubs do not need much watering, save during extended periods of hot, dry weather.


Feed your abelia with a fertilizer formulated for flowering shrubs. A rhododendron fertilizer will work well, as rhododendrons have much the same nutrient requirements as albelias. Apply the fertilizer to moist soil in February before leaf buds develop, then again in June before blooms appear. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package according to the size and age of your abelia.


Prune your abelia during the shrub's dormant period, which is November through February. Remove old or damaged growth to encourage more blooming and a bushier shape. If the plant become leggy during the growing period, you can carefully shorten the long branches without harming the albelia. Do not severely prune it in the summer, however.