Family: Caprifoliaceae, Weigela, Kolkwitzia and the Viburnums
Panicles of fragrant bell-flowers cluster in summer at the tips of graceful, arching canes in Abelia. This useful shrub genus from Mexico and China grows fast to a height of 1-2m/3-6ft. Lightly toothed, glossy foliage, a fountain-like habit and persistent red calyces are among other decorative features.
All species may be planted out in autumn or early spring in any leaf-rich soil; they prefer full sun. In really cold areas, they’ll need the shelter of a wall or larger bushes to protect them from prevailing winds.
Popular species include:
Mexican Abelia floribunda with tubular cumine blooms 5cm/2in long.
Abelia X flora with pink-flushed bells only 1.5cm long and its variegated sport, tricolour.
Chinese Abelia schumannii has a denser habit, 2.5cm/1in mauve-pink blooms.
Himalayan Abelia triflora is especially fragrant. All normally deciduous, they’ll remain evergreen in warmer climates.
Propagate from summer cuttings at a temperature of 160C/610F. Prune to change habit in winter, trim lightly from time to time where a more compact shape is desired. Feed in spring. Abelias belong to the Honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, along with Weigela, Kolkwitzia and the Viburnums.