Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora) also known as glossy Abelia, is a popular ornamental shrub that is tough and adaptable yet also loved for its beautifully fragrant flowers. This winter hardy shrub comes in a wide range of varieties offering various foliage colors. Abelia is easy-to-grow and has varieties that thrive in a wide range of growing zones viable from zone 4-11 with different hardiness zones based on variety. Abelia stays evergreen in more mild zones 6-9 while it is deciduous in colder zones.
While Abelia are tough and beautiful plants, damage to the plant can occur as winter-burn. Winter burn occurs when the foliage loses water from strong winds, harsh winter sun, and cold temperatures where the roots underground are unable to take up water to replenish the foliar loss. Foliage can become discolored and will lighten or look bleached. Foliage can also turn brown or blackish from cold damage.
For the most case, supplemental covers from the cold can be unnecessary. The exception is when there is an unexpected freeze happening that might impact the shrub early or late in the season. It is best to prepare Abelia for winter with a nice layer of mulch, making sure the crown of the plant is not planted or covered too deeply. Moderate winter snowfall can also insulate the plant through the winter. Very large or heavy snowfall should be removed from the plant to not cause breakage or other damage.
Cutting Back Abelia For Winter
It is ok to leave your Abelia to grow without pruning but the plant will benefit from a late winter/early spring shaping yearly. Plan to prune off winter damage or give your Abelia a nice shaping prune while the plant is still dormant in winter, when the days are shorter than the nights.
Abelia Winter Care in Pots
It is a good idea to move your containers of Abelia to a more sheltered location near your home to both protect the container and the plant from the elements. If you’re in a very cold climate within the hardiness zone, pull your Abelia container into a warmer area so that it does not get too damaged by the cold.
Watering Abelia in Winter
It is important to continue watering your Abelia through the fall until a hard freeze or until the plant is fully dormant. You do not need to water your garden Abelia after dormancy. Special attention should be given to your potted Abelias that you have given a more sheltered location to ride out the winter. The more sheltered the location, the higher the need for water. If you’ve moved your plants into a covered unheated greenhouse or shed, water the plants once a month or so while dormant to mimic ideal outdoor conditions.
Growing Abelia Indoors
It is not recommended to bring Abelia indoors as a houseplant. Abelias needs a dormant or rest period to recharge during the winter which they will not get inside your home throughout the winter.
Steps to Care for Abelia in Winter
Step 1 - Prepare your Abelia for winter by keeping it healthy throughout the growing season, fertilize in late fall.
Step 2 - Insulate garden plants with a nice layer of mulch. Move potted plants to more sheltered locations.
Step 3 - Water plants through late fall and no more than once a month through the winter for potted plants. Only remove large or heavy snow accumulation.
Step 4 - Prune off any winterkill in early spring while your Abelia is still dormant.
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Author Katie Endicott - Published 1-15-2022