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Glossy Abelia Linnaea x grandiflora

Previously known as:

  • Abelia rupestris var. grandiflora
  • Abelia x grandiflora
  • Abelia x rupestris
Phonetic Spelling
LIN-ay-ee-uh gran-dih-FLOR-uh
Description

Glossy abelia is a medium-sized, round, dense, multi-stemmed, hybrid shrub in the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle) family. It is a cross between Abelia chinensis and Abelia uniflora.  It has arching branches and small glossy ovate dark green leaves with tinges of red. The flowers are clusters of small, white to pink blooms that are bell-shaped, fragrant, and have pink or purple sepals. Blooming occurs from late spring to fall. The shrub grows from 2 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide, but the size may vary depending on the cultivar. 

This hybrid is believed to have originated in Italy and was officially introduced in 1886. Since the hybridization, over 30 cultivars have been developed. 

The genus name, Linnaea, is derived from Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist (1778).  It is also known as Abelia x grandiflora. The genus name, Abelia, honors Dr. Clark Abel, an English physician, and naturalist from the 18th century. The specific epithet, grandiflora, means "large-flowered."

The glossy abelia can be grown in full sun or partial shade, but it will flower best in full sun. It prefers moist, well-drained soils of loam, clay, or sand.  It is hardy, drought tolerant, erosion tolerant, deer resistant, and easy to grow, but intolerant to salty soil. The shrub is frost tender and is best planted in a protected site to prevent freeze damage. The flowers bloom on new wood; therefore, pruning, if needed, may be done in late winter and early spring. It is also resistant to Phytophthora root rot. Once established, glossy abelia requires very little maintenance. 

It is semi-evergreen to evergreen in the warm climates of the southern United States (zones 9 to 11), but it is usually deciduous in colder planting zones (zone 8). In zones 6 to 7, the shrub may freeze during the winter and die back to the ground.

Glossy abelia is versatile, easy to grow, tough, and has a very long blooming season. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are attracted to its flowers. Consider using this hybrid shrub as an accent, border, hedge, privacy screen, or mass planting. Planted in mass, this shrub will add color and a slight fragrance to the landscape.

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom:  Spring, Summer, and Fall          Foliage:  Spring, Summer, and Fall

Quick ID Hints:

  • Reddish new growth has three to four leaves per node. 
  • Opposite leaves have reticulate venation.
  • Bell-shaped, white flowers have a persistent reddish calyx
  • Small shrub with exfoliating bark.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  The glossy abelia has no serious insect pests or diseases. Occasionally aphids can be problematic. Winter dieback can occur in colder planting zones.

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy, and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Foundation Planting- West Side of House
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Canyon Creek', 'Confetti', 'Edward Goucher', 'Francis Mason', 'Hopleys', 'Kaleidoscope', 'Little Richard', 'Mardis Gras', 'Prostrata', 'Radiance', 'Rose Creek', 'Ruby Anniversery', 'Sherwoodii', 'Silver Anniversary', 'Sunrise', 'Sunshine Daydream'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#evergreen#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#interesting bark#white flowers#easy to grow#wildlife plant#pink flowers#small shrub#nectar plant#low maintenance#fall interest#mass planting#air pollution tolerant#cpp#foundation planting#border planting#glossy#screening#pollinator plant#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Canyon Creek', 'Confetti', 'Edward Goucher', 'Francis Mason', 'Hopleys', 'Kaleidoscope', 'Little Richard', 'Mardis Gras', 'Prostrata', 'Radiance', 'Rose Creek', 'Ruby Anniversery', 'Sherwoodii', 'Silver Anniversary', 'Sunrise', 'Sunshine Daydream'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#evergreen#showy flowers#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#interesting bark#white flowers#easy to grow#wildlife plant#pink flowers#small shrub#nectar plant#low maintenance#fall interest#mass planting#air pollution tolerant#cpp#foundation planting#border planting#glossy#screening#pollinator plant#butterfly friendly#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Linnaea
    Family:
    Caprifoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Wildlife Value:
    This shrub is attractive to bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Easy to Grow
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought, pollution, deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 6 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is inconspicuous, oval, less than 1/2 inch long, leathery, brown achene that contains one seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are 1/2 inch long, 1/4 inch wide, tubular, bell-shaped, and white to pink. They appear in clusters terminally and axillary and have pink or purple sepals. Color ranges from white to pink depending on the cultivar. The flowers have a long blooming season from late spring to fall. The reddish calyces persist into winter.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are simple, ovate, glossy, and dark green. They measure up to 1.25 inches long. During the fall the leaf color transitions to a purplish-bronze. There are 3-4 leaves per node and have reticulate venations; acute, cuneate to rounded base.
  • Bark:
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Peeling
    Bark Description:
    The bark on young stems is pubescent. Older stems develop exfoliating bark and have thin peeling strips
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are thin, brittle, and pale gray to reddish-purple. Young stems are pubescent and mature to exfoliating, splitting bark, revealing lighter inner bark
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Erosion
    Pollution
    Salt
    Urban Conditions