The individual flowers of Abelia bushes may be small, but they make up for it with their abundance. In bloom for months, these plants are very easy to grow and care for, thriving in warm, sunny or lightly-shaded spots, and they are evergreen in warmer zones. These easy plants should be grown more than they are. Their small glossy leaves cluster along the arching stems, and Abelia will grow almost anywhere, including in difficult urban gardens and on steep slopes. Most of them have white or pale-pink flowers, but the Edward Goucher Abelia is outstanding for its beautiful tubular lilac flowers, which bring delicate beauty from a tough plant.
The Edward Goucher Abelia is an arching shrub, growing to about 5 feet tall in warmer zones, and 2 or 3 feet tall in cooler zones. The dark-green, glossy leaves are about 1¼ inches long, in clusters of three on the stems, and they turn beautiful shades of purple-bronze in fall. They keep this color all winter in warm zones, but in colder ones this shrub is deciduous. Flowers appear on the new growth, beginning in mid-summer and continuing right into fall – you get weeks and weeks of bloom. Every branch has blooms along it and every shoot is tipped with clusters of many flowers, with new ones opening constantly. They are small and tubular, and a soft lilac-purple color, emerging from bronzy-red buds. The whole bush is covered in blooms, making a lovely sight. Hummingbirds love Abelia, and they will visit your garden constantly, to feed on it – have your camera ready.
Growing Edward Goucher Abelia Shrubs
Grow the Edward Goucher Abelia as an informal hedge, along a pathway, in front of a fence, or to divide one part of the garden from another. You will be rewarded with months of color and beauty. Grow it as a single plant in beds, or in clusters. It looks very effective growing among mounded or upright evergreens, such as around your house in the foundation planting. It is an attractive way to cover a slope, because the strong roots hold the soil, preventing erosion. It can also be grown in zones 8 and 9 in planter boxes or containers, for easy color on your terrace, patio or balcony.
The Edward Goucher Abelia grows best in full sun, particularly in cooler zones, but also in light shade, perhaps in the afternoon. It grows well in most soils, preferring richer soils, but tolerating poor, dry soils and urban conditions too. In cooler zones a warm, sheltered spot is best, such as against the wall of your house. This plant is free of pests and diseases, and deer don’t usually bother it either – it’s a trouble-free choice. The only maintenance needed is spring pruning, to avoid it becoming too dense and tangled, and to encourage plenty of flowers. Remove the oldest stems right at the ground, taking away up to one-third of the branches. Shorten back the tips of the remaining stems and side branches, and remove any dead and weak branches. The aim is to encourage lots of new growth, which is where the flowers will be carried.
This shrub is hardy from zones 6 to 8, but it needs different treatment in different zones. In zone 6 and colder parts of zone 7 some branches may die in winter, but don’t worry, the plant will grow back in spring. Because Abelia bushes flowers on new branches, you won’t even lose any flowering, but the plant will only be 2 or 3 feet tall by the end of summer. Because it is so beautiful, don’t be afraid to plant it in those cooler zones – it will still be a great addition to your garden. In zones 8 and 9 this shrub is evergreen, and it will reach its full 5 feet in height without winter die-back.
History and Origins of Edward Goucher Abelia Shrubs
Abelia is a group of about 30 species of plants that grow from the Himalayas to Japan, and also in Mexico and some southern states of America. The Edward Goucher Abelia is a hybrid between the widely-grown Abelia grandiflora, a Chinese species with white blooms, and Abelia schumanniin another Chinese species with pink flowers. It was developed in 1911 by Edward Goucher, who was a scientist and plant breeder at the Glenn Dale Plant Introduction Station, in Maryland. This century-old plant has outlasted many more modern introductions, and it remains one of the best and most reliable of all the Abelia you can grow. Our plants are produced from stem pieces, as this plant cannot be grown from seed. They will quickly become a great feature in your garden, but our stock of this favorite is limited, so order now while our stock lasts.