Among the many plants used in landscape design, abelia is considered one of the most versatile. With its help, you can turn a yard or garden into a place with incredible flowering, fill it with aroma and tenderness, and also create a molded hedge. Attention to this flower has grown since it began to be grown as a houseplant: now not only residents of private houses, but also apartments can enjoy its beauty. In order for the shrub to show its full potential, you need to learn more about care and cultivation.
In the genus Abelia, there are over 30 species, among which there are evergreen and deciduous forms. The homeland of this plant is the tropics and subtropics of southeast Asia. Most representatives in adulthood are typical shrubs with a dense crown, but there are also tree-like ones. In some species with long branches, a drooping form is formed.
The height is different: from 1.5 to 4 m, subject to cultivation in open ground. All varieties have impressive flowering, lush, long-lasting, with an aroma reminiscent of honeysuckle. This is no coincidence, since abelia belongs to the genus Honeysuckle. Flowers are located in panicles at the ends of young shoots or in leaf axils. The color of the petals is varied, from snow-white to purple. Some species remain decorative even after flowering, as red sepals are exposed after the petals wither. They stand out brightly against the background of lush greenery. The fruits ripen 1 seed.
Leaf plates are oval or elongated and are arranged opposite each other in pairs. The color of the foliage in most species is saturated green, although varieties with a variegated or light color are artificially bred.
Varieties and varieties
At the moment, there are hundreds of names of this plant, but not all of them are grown in our latitudes. Among the variety of forms, you can choose the one that is most suitable in terms of size, properties and conditions.
The following types of Abelia are most widespread:
- Large-flowered (Abelia grandiflora). Depending on the temperature regime and the intensity of rains, it can manifest itself as deciduous or evergreen. When cultivated, it most often forms thin drooping branches. The bark at a young age is an unusual light pink shade, and after 3-4 years it becomes brown. Leaves are lanceolate. Five-petal large inflorescences with fused petals. The period of maximum decorativeness is from late May to September.
- Chinese (Abelia chinensis). Graceful weeping form, when grown in an open area reaches 2 m in height. Foliage with pointed tips. During flowering, numerous buds form in the axils, and after opening the bells, rare red stripes are visible on the white petals.
- Abundantly flowering (Abelia floribunda). Evergreen form with unusual pubescent red shoots. The leaves are large, deep green. Inflorescences with a delicate pink tint in the form of a small funnel. Flowering from late May – early June lasts a couple of months.
- Schumann (Abelia Shumanii). Highly ornamental shrub with a pronounced seasonality, loses foliage during the cold season. Inflorescences are pink with lilac tones.
- Two- flowered (Abelia biflora). In the wild, it grows in the southern parts of the Far East and in China. Growing in the middle belt in open ground is not possible. Height reaches 2.5 m.
- Korean (Abelia coreana). In adulthood, it is a sprawling shrub with a powerful crown, often used to form hedges. Young shoots are brown, but then turn gray. The leaves are long, with notches along the perimeter. This is the only variety that can winter in the middle lane, so it is grown in open ground.
- Three- flowered (Abelia triflora). It got its name due to the fact that 3 flowers develop in the axils. Leaf blades are dense, thickened, leathery. The inflorescences are small, but they form a lot. It is successfully cultivated in the southern regions of Russia.
Before choosing a species or variety, you need to decide where the plant will be located: in the house, garden or greenhouse.
In order for a seedling to turn into a sprawling bush or tree, it is necessary to grow it in open ground. This is possible in the southern regions, in a greenhouse or winter garden. The most reliable way is to purchase quality planting material from a nursery or garden center. At the same time, it is imperative to emphasize that abelia is needed for outdoor cultivation. In most cases, Korean is recommended.
Place and soil
When choosing a place, it should be borne in mind that the abelia shrub does not tolerate:
- dull shadow;
- drafts and winds;
- moisture stagnation;
- alkaline soil.
The soil must be prepared before planting. To do this, compost and black peat are added to the ground. At the seedling, all shoots are shortened by 10-15 cm from the top point. The roots are carefully placed around the perimeter of the pit, and everything is covered with a substrate. After that, the bush is well watered and mulch is applied from the bark of coniferous plants. This will reduce watering, keep weeds from growing, and keep the soil at the right acidity.
During the first year after planting, watering is carried out once every 2 weeks, and during a drought or extreme heat – once a week. This regime must be provided until October. From the second year, irrigation can be applied only in hot weather, since the root system sinks into deeper layers of the soil, where water is retained longer. It is best to focus on the depth of drying of the soil: it should be more than 7 cm. Stagnation of water is detrimental to the roots, fungal diseases or decay can occur when damp.
Abelia does not need constant feeding. It makes sense to add a complex for flowering plants only at the time of budding, so that flowering is plentiful and long. An alternative is fertilizer for azaleas or rhododendrons. To saturate the soil with organic matter in spring and autumn, the trunk circle is sprinkled with compost, after which digging is carried out to the depth of the shovel bayonet.
Pruning is a mandatory item for caring for this bush. Without it, the crown may be deformed, and flowering will become weak. The first stage is in the spring, before the start of active growth. It should not be skipped, since the buds develop on new shoots of this year. Dry branches and affected areas are cut to the ground, thinning out too thick places. The second stage is pruning in the fall, when flowering stops completely.
Preparing for winter
Despite the fact that Korean abelia is recommended for cultivation in the southern regions, it must be covered for normal wintering. It is especially important to do this in the first year after planting. For this, coniferous spruce branches or agrofibre are used.
Growing at home
For growing abelia at home, the following varieties are most suitable:
- Kaleidoscope (Abelia Kaleidoscope). Evergreen low growing plant. This compact variety is most often used for room decor. In gardens and greenhouses, it looks most impressive in group plantings.
- Variegated (Abelia variegate). An unusual variety in which, with a reduction in daylight hours, the leaves change color from green to yellow-red.
- Mosan (Abelia mosanensis). Valued for its incredible fragrance during flowering, it resembles a mixture of lilac, honeysuckle and hyacinth. At the same time, the variety is very resistant to cold, which allows it to withstand even -15 ° C.
It is these types of abelia that, when grown indoors, do not shed foliage and are the easiest to care for. In order for flowering to be annual and please for a long time, it is necessary to provide the most important factors: watering, lighting, temperature, top dressing, air humidity and timely treatment of diseases.
For abundant budding, the plant must stand in a place with good lighting, otherwise flowering will be short and weak. Windows oriented to the south, east or southeast are best suited. In the heat, when the direct rays of the sun hit, burns can appear on the foliage of abelia, so in the summer months it is recommended to cover the flower with a curtain or glue reflective foil on the window. Excellent results are obtained when placing the pot on a balcony or loggia, and in a private courtyard, the bush can be moved to the garden.
In winter, the flower suffers from a lack of light, since in the tropics the length of the day is not reduced so much. To make up for the deficit, you must use a fluorescent lamp or phytolamp.
This plant is unpretentious in terms of heat, but you need to remember that sudden changes in more than 5 ° C can lead to leaf fall. A temperature range of 15°C to 25°C is recommended. More specific instructions can be obtained depending on the variety. Some need cooler wintering, while others vegetate beautifully all year round with stable temperatures.
An important addition: drafts for abelia are detrimental, so protection from directed air flows is necessary.
You should not choose to place an air-conditioned room; a place near a heating battery will also not work.
Good watering is necessary only during the period of active vegetation and flowering – in spring and summer. The earth should not dry out so that the buds do not wither and fall off. Usually, a flower needs watering once a week, and for large specimens in tubs – once every 2-3 weeks. In winter, watering is carried out once a month if the pot is in a cool room.
In the hot period, crown spraying can be carried out, but the water for this must be softened or distilled and warm. In the cold, this procedure is not carried out, as fungi can become activated.
For normal crown growth and abundant bud formation, home care for abelia should include pruning. The approach depends on what type the flower belongs to:
- evergreen – pruning after flowering, remove the tops of the shoots by 5-10 cm;
- deciduous – in the spring, before the start of active growth, all shoots are shortened by ½ part.
In addition, be sure to remove all dry branches, places with signs of damage. No need to leave as much as possible: after a good pruning, the flower actively grows and feels better.
Important: only ampelous forms are not cut.
After purchasing this plant in a store, the rapid growth rate is often a surprise. The ornamental shrub abelia can grow so much in the first year that it will have to be replanted 2-3 times only during the warm season. With each season, the growth rate of the flower will decrease. The size of an adult plant largely depends on what size pot or container the flower will be provided with.
Diseases and problems
Caring for abelia is not difficult, but problems can sometimes arise:
- Aphid. It attacks young leaves and flower buds, from which it sucks the juice. The crown becomes dull, if you hold it with your hand, you feel stickiness. Showering with warm water helps a lot. If the number of aphids is large, insecticides will come to the rescue.
- Thrips. Can cause great damage to abelia. They look like long black insects. If they appear, you need to treat all plants in the house with insecticides, since thrips spread very quickly.
- Spider mite. A common cause of damage is dry air, so the parasite is activated in winter during the heating season in warm rooms. The leaves gradually turn yellow and fall off. On their underside, a thin cobweb is noticeable. You need at least three treatments with acaricides with an interval of a week.
Timely inspection and proper care of the flower prevent the appearance of most diseases.