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Abelia Chinensis

Abelia chinensis, or Chinese abelia, grows 6 to 8 feet tall with branches sticking out in all directions. Each branch is covered with green leaves with a maroon tinge and massive clusters of white flowers.

The flowers are trumpet shaped and will continue to bloom all summer long. Butterflies love this shrub. It is an easy plant to grow, requiring very little maintenance.

Originally found by Clark Abel (1780 - 1826), this plant was brought to Europe after much misadventure with shipwrecks and pirates. Once this shrub was crossed with Abelia uniflora to produce Abelia x grandiflora, this original shrub passed out of favor.

In recent years it has come back as a great choice for the garden due to its fragrance and abilities to attract butterflies. Since it is one of the few plants that blooms from June to October, it keeps the butterflies happy for a long time.

Landscaping Ideas

Use Abelia chinensis as a specimen plant or accent in your garden. Plant several together to form a living screen or hedge. They are an obvious choice for a butterfly garden. Butterflies flock to this plant as long as it flowers. Give it lots of room as it can grow up to six feet wide.

Planting and Care

Plant in full sun if possible. It will grow fine in shade, but the plant won't produce as many flowers and the growth will be more open.

Full sun helps the plant to bloom as much as possible and grow more densely. Don't shear it unless necessary.

It has a naturally loose growth habit and frequent shearing will make it look like a large mushroom. Treat it like a forsythia and when pruning is necessary, do it in early spring. Cut it severely. It will grow back.

Fertilize established plants in the early spring before new growth begins. Watch for aphids... while not a constant threat, they do infest abelias occasionally. Adding compost occasionally will help keep the soil at the right pH for this shrub.

Abelia Information

  • Scientific Name: Abelia chinensis

  • Best Soil: Moist, well drained soil

  • Light: Full to partial sun

  • Growth Rate: Moderate to fast

  • Foilage: Dark green leaves with lighter bottoms and serrated margins

  • Fall Color: Fragrant white flower clusters adorn the bush from spring through fall

  • Bloom: June to October

  • Mature Size and Shape: Grows to 7 feet tall and 6 feet wide in an upright, loose spreading form

  • Hardiness Zone: 7 to 9

  • Plant Spacing: Space plants 5 feet apart when planting together

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