Abelias are shrubs in the Caprifoliaceae family to which honeysuckles, kolkwitzia and dipelta also belong. Hardiness varies but is down to around -15°C.
Abelia chinensis has been a one-time resident in my garden. It displays heads of scented very pale pink flowers [late summer / autumn] and glossy green deciduous foliage. It grew well in dry semi shade, but altogether too well and it was a bit privet-like so it has been banished.
Abelia floribunda is an absolute showstopper and bucks the asiatic trend as it comes from Mexico. Branches drip with long pinky red flared trumpets in early summer. Rix & Phillips reckon it gets to 2.5m – 6m, but as you might expect likes warmth, hardy to about -10°C; so far seems not too unhappy in my mother’s more exposed garden in South Somerset if a little lower growing.
Abelia x grandiflora is a really good doer, possessing small glossy semi-evergreen leaves with red and copper tints. It is long flowering and the red bracts provide an extra flourish when the flowers peter out in late autumn. Starts flowering fairly late in summer but then goes on for months. Eventually it will make a sprawly shrub to @2.5m which can be nipped at to keep it in check. Being airy in growth it provides gentle structure and background in the garden.
Abelia schumannii sports larger deeper pink flowers with darker markings in the throat. Has a similar habit to A x grandiflora but lower growing with semi-evergreen less glossy leaves. Slightly more tender.
Abelia triflora comes from the Himalayas. It used to be in my town garden as I fell for the scented creamy threesome of flowers nestled in their furry surrounds. I then saw what size it can get to as Hidcote has a fine specimen, it has had to be re-located – pity!