Native to the deep valleys of mountain forests in China, this evergreen to deciduous shrub is a member of the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, that also includes weigela, pincushion flower and teasel. It grows up to 7′ tall and has ovate to elliptic green leaves that emerge bronze on arching reddish shoots. The leaves are up to 1″ long, hairy, and often grey-green beneath. From summer to fall, funnel-shaped flowers appear singly or in clusters and are drooping or held horizontally. The flowers are fragrant, white to purple-lilac with orange specks on their bearded throats, and are surrounded by green sepals that turn red and persist into fall after the petals drop. Abelia schumanni can be used as a hedge or grown in containers and is a good addition to a fragrance garden. The genus name, Abelia, honors Dr. Clarke Abel (17801826), English naturalist and physician who was part of a British delegation to the emperor of China in 1816. The specific epithet, schumannii, honors Karl Schumann (1851-1904), a German botanist.

Type: Flowering broadleaf evergreen to deciduous shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flowers

Form: Spreading

Growth Rate: Rapid to moderate

Bloom: Funnel-shaped flowers that are fragrant, white to purple-lilac with orange specks on their bearded throats, and surrounded green by sepals that turn red , from summer to fall

Size: 7′ H x 10′ W

Light: Full sun for best flowering and foliage color but tolerates some shade

Soil: Average, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7-10

Care: Prune immediately after flowering to improve shape and encourage next year’s bloom

Pests and Diseases: None of significance but may suffer damage by aphids, anthracnose, and powdery. mildew

Propagation: Seed, softwood cuttings in early summer, hardwood cuttings in late summer

Photo Credit: peganum, Wikimedia Commons

By Karen