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The abelia is a genus that includes 15-20 evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs, originating in China, Japan and Mexico. The species generally cultivated in the garden is a hybrid of species originating in China, namely Abelia grandiflora. It has a roundish habit and the specimens of some years reach the height and the width of 100-120 cm; the long stems, poorly branched, are reddish and tend to arch, lengthening.
The leaves are oval, serrated, small, cuoiose, of a beautiful dark green and shiny; the new leaves are bronze colored, and in autumn the whole plant takes on this pleasant color. In summer it produces a profusion of small white-pinkish trumpet flowers, which persist until the first cold; the fruit is a woody achene, containing a single seed.
The young plants of this particular variety need regular watering; the adult plants can instead endure some days of drought without problems; in the period from March to October watering sporadically, once a week; with the arrival of the colds to drastically decrease the waterings, without however suspending them completely, being the abelia an evergreen plant.In the vegetative period it can be very useful to provide fertilizer for flowering plants dissolved in the water of the watering at least once every 15 days.Ground
The abelie they grow without problems in any terrain, even in garden soil; surely, however, a more abundant flowering and a more luxuriant development will occur in a soil rich in organic and very well drained matter.
When planting an abelia, remember to prepare a large hole by placing coarse-grained sand, good balanced soil and well-mixed organic fertilizer on the bottom, so as to favor rapid rooting.
The multiplication of this plant takes place by seed, in spring; the abelia of the genus grandiflora multiply instead by cutting, taking portions of stem in spring, which must be rooted in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts; new plants should be grown in a container for at least a couple of years before they can be planted.
As for pruning, this is not necessary, you can only use a pruning that allows you to eliminate the driest parts; or, in the autumn, to resort to a more drastic pruning to allow the plant to renew itself.
Pests and diseases
These plants are usually very rustic and are not frequently attacked by pests or diseases, but can be affected by aphids; to counter them it is possible to resort to one of the specific products available on the market or resort to natural methods such as an infusion of garlic macerated in water to be sprayed on the leaves.
Abelia plant, which is the most suitable period?
Usually the abelia is sold in small pots, at any time of the year. As always for the shrubs, the months of October and November are the best for the plant, but you can also proceed at other times avoiding the scorching heat and frost. These two situations, added to the stress of the operation, could bring the plant to decay or significantly slow down its vegetative growth.
In mountain areas (with minimum temperatures around -10 ° C) it is advisable to postpone to February: the abelia is very resistant, but not totally rustic and the young plants need some extra attention.
Bare root plants
It is not uncommon, at the end of winter, to find specimens for sale in supermarkets or do it yourself. Often they are bare-rooted plants or with a small earthen bread, recently rooted cuttings, very delicate. Buy them only if the branches are well alive and, possibly, as soon as you arrive at the point of sale.
To increase the chances of taking root we avoid inserting them immediately into the ground: the ideal is to transfer them to small pots and wait until we see the rootlets coming out of the drain holes. At that point the plant will be safer and the subsequent development faster.
How to install the system
First, put the jar in a bucket with warm water for at least 10 minutes: we will free the roots more easily, without damaging them. Meanwhile we dig a hole at least 30 cm deep and place a good quantity of pelleted manure or, better, cornung on the bottom and cover with a light layer of soil. We insert the plant leaving the collar a little higher than the ground level; we fill with the extracted earth mixed with a substrate for flowers and some compost. We compact well and distribute at least 6 liters of water, continuing then with assiduousness for at least the first two weeks.
If we want to create a hedge we leave 50 to 100 cm of distance between one plant and another depending on the final size of the specific cultivar.
Abelia maintenance, fertilization
They are fairly autonomous plants, but by giving them a little care we will have a more luxuriant and harmonious growth, in addition to more abundant blooms.
The abelie to give their best they want a soil rich in nutrients and good texture. This is achieved by spreading abundant pelleted manure, compost or organic soil improver in autumn over the entire area covered by the foliage. At the end of winter we can integrate it with a slow release granular with a high potassium content, as a stimulus for flowering. We follow a light hoeing and abundant irrigation.
A second administration, in June, can be useful, especially in the youngest specimens, to obtain a good vegetative growth in anticipation of the following year.
Pruning of the abelia
The most widespread abelias are hybrids of the x grandiflora group and in our country they can be deciduous or semidecidue depending on the climate. For this type of plants the ordinary intervention required is minimal; moreover, by flowering on the branches produced in the previous vintage, there is the risk of losing the production of buds.
The advice is to intervene at the end of winter, but only to eliminate diseased, crossed or disordered branches. It may happen that, over the years, the specimens become woody at the base: then we operate at the end of flowering with a quite drastic cut: we will stimulate renewal.
The evergreen species, such as the floribunda, sensitive to the cold, are cultivated almost exclusively in the South. Also in this case, the interventions, to be done in the summer, are minimal: shorten the protruding jets and eliminate the withered inflorescences.
Only the hybrid of grandiflora is widespread on the market, but other species rich in charm are also worth considering, especially those of Mexican origin, suitable for the milder climate regions of our country.
Usually, being native to the mountainous areas of the Far East, they are suitable for the whole of our country. Some grandiflora hybrids are however more delicate and it is good to inquire specifically, especially if we live in high ground.
Abelia chinensis a medium-sized shrub, deciduous and with an expanded shape. The pinkish-white flowers appear in summer, and are collected in large apical panicles. Beautiful cultivar "China rose" with more rosy, long-lasting and extremely fragrant corollas.
Abelia x grandiflora vigorous and resistant shrub with dark green ovate leaves. The tubular flowers are apical, collected in panicles and perfumed. There are many cultivars on the market: "Canyon Creek", notable for the new bronze-colored leaves, "Francis Mason" with slower growth and golden leaves with green splashes, "Hopley" young green leaves with yellow margin and then cream, "Kaleidoscope ”Leaves with a wide yellow margin that in autumn are colored with warm shades; "Prostrata" dark green and purple foliage in autumn, enlarged growth habit, maximum 60 cm high; "Sherwood" one meter high, has small leaves, abundant and lasting flowering;
Abelia 'Edward Goucher "very rustic, up to 2 meters high, has reddish foliage in spring and abundant flowering in shades of lilac.
Abelia mosanensis beautiful arched shrub with bright green leaves and very fragrant white flowers, loved by bees. Very rustic
Abelia triflora large shrub with beautiful bark and large dark green leaves. In the summer it produces a large quantity of extremely fragrant small white flowers. Very rustic.
Abelia floribunda from Mexico, evergreen shrub with dark green leaves and hanging red flowers in early summer. It can grow up to 3 meters in height and 4 in width.
Abelia: Use and combinations of the Abelia
The abelia is suitable for different locations and combinations. Its strength is undoubtedly its robustness and autonomy: after the first sprouting period it is the ideal subject for low maintenance gardens, requiring neither frequent pruning nor irrigation.
We can use it as an isolated specimen, but also, depending on the size of the cultivar, in small woods, in mixed borders or as a background of rocky gardens. It is also an excellent element to create mixed or pure hedges. It goes well with spiree, domestic nandina, osmanthus, cotoneaster and carnelian with colored bark.
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The abelia is a shrub belonging to the Linneaceae family. The genus abelia includes about twenty sp
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