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Albelia A-Z of plant genera. part one

Updated on September 7, 2015

Albelia flowers



In this series of articles A-Z of plant genera I will be reviewing a selection of plants from each genera. These will include garden species and their wild relatives. We commence with the genus Albelia. This genus contains semi-evergreen or even ever green shrubs that are grown for their foliage and the profusion of flowers that they produce,which make them popular with gardeners.

They are fully to half hardy,but in cold regions they do best against a south or west facing wall. They require a sheltered sunny aspect and well drained soil. Cultivated species will require the dead wood removing in late spring and the older branches pruned off after the flowering period is over. This will restrict growth. If required cuttings from the soft wood may be taken during the summer.

The genus is named after Clarke Abel a naturalist

The genus contains between 15 -30 recognized species and many hybrids. They belong to the Honeysuckle family Caprifoliaceae. We commence with Abelia corymbosa,sometimes referred to as Zabelia corymbosa.

Abelia corymbosa

This species is also referred to as Zabelia corymbosa and is a native of central Asia where it may be encountered in the regions of Kazakhastan,Kyrgystan and Tajikstan. The shrub attains the height of three to four metres tall. The foliage tends to vary in size and the oval shaped leaves are of a dull green colour.

The tubular flowers grow in pairs from the leaf axils. They are 1-3 cm,{three quarters of an inch} long and of a white colour tinged with pink.

Albelia mosanensis


Abelia mosanensis

This species is a native of the Korean peninsula. It attains the height of two metres and flowers from May-June. This species is known as the fragrant Abelia,which is in itself unusual for the genus {with the exception of cultivars} ,most others of the genus have no scent. it is also a very hardy plant.

The flower buds form in the autumn and break bud in spring. In bud the flowers appear to be of a reddish pink colour,then open to show a more general white bloom. the somewhat open branches are adorned with simple glossy,dark,green leaves,which in autumn turn into shades of orange and red.

In recent years the shrub has grown in popularity with gardeners. It packs its arching branches with white petalled trumpet flowers that produce a sweet lilac scent. It grows best in full sun or even partial shade in fertile well drained soil. This species requires little pruning so is relatively maintenance free.

Another species native to Korea is Abelia taiyonii.

Albelia chinensis


Albelia chinensis

This species is the typical member of the genus and was first described by Robert brown { Scottish Botanist 1773-1858} and is a native of China,Tawain and Japan.

It produces reddish stems adorned with glossy,small leaves that become reddish brown in early autumn. It is one of the hardiest species in the genus. The flowers are simple, funnel-shaped white with pink sepals. The sepals remain long after the flowers have faded. it is a species commonly cultivated in China and cultivars are popularly utilized elsewhere in the world.

Other species native to China include Abelia,biflora. A.dielsii. A. engleiana. A. forrestii. A.macrotera, A.parviflora. A.umbellata and A.uniflora.

Abelia schumannii

Taken in  Madrid Spain.
Taken in Madrid Spain. | Source

Abelia spathulata

Japan. | Source

Abelia schumannii.and Abelia spathulata

This native of central China is named after the German botanist Karl Moritz Schumann.It is an evergreen shrub attaining the height of two metres {seven feet} with a similar spread.It produces elongated trumpet-like flowers which are pink with red sepals.Cultivars have yellow-blotched rose purple and white flowers that are in bloom from mid summer to mid autumn.

The shrub has arching stems adorned with mid-green coloured leaves which are a bronze colour when young. They require full sun and a well drained soil. Cultivars are frost hardy down to minus five degrees centigrade.

Abelia spathulata is a species native to Japan,and is endemic on the eastern side of Honshu,the west and central Kanto region and the north western part of Kyushu and Shikoku.

It is a deciduous species,the leaves are simple,entire,petiolate and have visible veins. The flowers are white with yellow internally. The species requires a sandy loamy,or gritty loamy soil,and is frost hardy down to minus twelve degrees centigrade.

Other species native to Japan include Abelia curvifloa. A.integrifolia. A. lonostachya,A.serrata and A.tomentosa.

Abelia 'Vaselea' floribunda


Abelia floribunda

Abelia floribunda, is a native to Mexico. It is an evergreen species ,an arching shrub which attains the height of ten feet with a spread of twelve feet. the cultivar is regarded as half hardy. The stems are adorned with oval glossy foliage,the leaves being dark green and in early summer produces drooping tubular flowers which are bright reddish pink.

Other species native to Mexico include, Abelia mexicano. Abelia occidentalis,and Abelia coriacea

Abelia grandiflora


Abelia grandiflora

Abelia grandiflora is an hybrid raised by crossing Abelia chinensis with Abelia iniflora,and many varieties are available to the gardener. One very popular variety is 'Edward Groucher'.

Abelia 'Edward Groucher', is a deciduous or semi evergreen,arching shrub. It has oval,bright green leaves that are a bronze colour when young. it bears a profusion of lilac pink flowers from mid summer to autumn. It attains the height of five feet with a similar spread.

It grows best in a well drained fertile soil in full sun and is frost hardy down to minus five degrees C.

Albelia grandiflora cv 'Edward groucher'


Abelia grandiflora variety 'Conti' Confetti {Registered Trade mark.}

Abelia grandiflora,' conti ' {Confetti}, has beautiful variegated, green leaves with white margins. when the foliage begins to emerge they have a pink hue which adds another point of interest to the shrub.

It is a rounded shrub with arching branches,and apart from the interesting foliage it is grown for its long-lasting flowers. The flowers are small and fragrant,very pale pink to ivory along with pink sepals which persist with their colour long after the petals have faded. They prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade in well drained fertile soil. The flowers have the added bonus of attracting bees and butterflies.

Abelia grandiflora 'conti'

Taken at Osaka Japan.
Taken at Osaka Japan. | Source

Albelia grandiflora 'Francis Mason'

Abelia grandiflora 'Francis Mason' , is another popular garden variety, which is a vigorous,semi-evergreen arching shrub which attains the height of six feet or so with a spread of up to ten feet. It is frost hardy.

The young shoots are a coppery yellow colour and the oval leaves are yellowish green darker in the centres. From mid summer to mid-autumn the shrub produces a profusion of fragrant ,bell-shaped flowers, which are white tinged with pink.

Abelia trifolia is a popular shrub among the gardening fraternity. However, this shrub attains the height of twenty feet with a similar spread, and needs a medium sized to large garden.

The foliage is pointed and of a deep green colour.the flowers are relatively small,white tinged with pink and extremely fragrant. They appear in mid-summer. They prefer a well drained soil situated in full sun and will tolerate frost down to minus five degrees cellsius.


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    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Deb,

      Thank you Deb, these letter known genera have some great species. Best wishes to you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The abulia is so beautiful with such a wide range of colors. There is something here that everyone would like.