Abelias are very low-maintenance flowering shrubs. They do not require extensive pruning but doing so once a year is a good plant maintenance habit to establish to keep your plant tidy and free of damaged branches. Pruning at the right time of year will promote a healthy and happy plant.
Beyond plant maintenance, Abelias can also be pruned to maintain a smaller size and habit or pruned to establish a more formal shape. Pruning can also be used to revive an old Abelia plant that has lost its luster by cutting it back dramatically close to the ground to encourage new growth.
When to Prune Abelia
Prune in late winter or early spring, typically February or March, before the plant has started to push out any new growth. Once the plant has broken dormancy – don’t cut off flower buds. Abelia flowers are produced on new growth so once the plant has shown signs of waking up in springtime and shooting out new growth, you’re too late to prune. You should aim to prune off dead winter growth or overgrown shoots aiming to tidy and shape your plant prior to the growing season.
Outside of the dormant late winter or early springtime period, it is safe to cut off stray or dead branches on your Abelia. Avoid heavy pruning too late in fall when you’re approaching your first frost date. Also avoid pruning in spring after your plant has broken dormancy because Abelia bloom on new growth and you’re likely cutting off new flower buds.
Why Prune Abelia
Pruning once a year or every other year should be part of your plant maintenance techniques to keep your Abelia thriving and healthy. Removing dead, damaged, or diseased branches will benefit the appearance and health of your plant while encouraging new growth and promote flowering. Selectively pruning will also help you achieve the habit shape that you desire of your shrub. Removing damage branches will promote airflow and therefore help your abelia’s disease resistance.
How to Prune Abelia
Step 1 – Make sure your plant is dormant in late winter early spring.
Step 2 – Observe and analyze your plant, identifying damaged branches, old wood, or wayward growth.
Step 3 - Use sharp, clean, and sturdy pruners.
Step 4 – Targeting the undesirable branches, make pruning cuts at 45 degree angles close
to the branch joint.
Step 5 – Do not remove more than 1/3 of your shrub’s branches each pruning.
Abelia Pruning Tips
- Prune your Abelia in late winter or early spring
- Aim to remove dead or damaged branches to promote new growth
- Use clean, sharp, and sturdy clippers
- Make 45 degree angle cuts
- Don’t remove more than 1/3 of your Abelia
- Prune only once a year