Twist Of Lemon AbeliaAbelia x grandiflora 'gretol'
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Abelia x grandiflora 'gretol'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Twist of Lemon™ Abelia is a dense, rounded evergreen shrub, growing not much more than 3 feet high, but spreading outwards 5 feet or more. The leaves are bronze red when new, turning to a bright shade of lemon yellow. Older leaves are chartreuse green, and in fall the whole plant becomes bronzy pink, staying like that through winter. This bush is ideal for filling beds or creating attractive borders. It can be trimmed into a tight, perfect hedge, or left to grow more casually, looking just as attractive.
The Twist of Lemon™ Abelia will be brightest growing in full sun, but a few hours of shade each day make little difference. It grows well in almost all soils, including urban conditions, if the ground is well-drained. It is drought resistant, but a little water during dry spells, and some spring fertilizer, will give you the densest and most colorful growth. Pests and diseases are normally absent, and deer leave it alone.
In warmer zones abelia are such useful shrubs it’s hard to imagine gardening without them. Their evergreen glossy foliage means they look good all year round, and most have interesting seasonal color changes too. The fragrant flowers are small, but they add a bright touch in summer – with visits from butterflies and sometimes hummingbirds making them magnets of interest. One of the most useful accent colors in the garden is yellow, but it doesn’t always blend well with colors in the pink and purple range. For that combination to work the yellow needs to be lemony with a hint of green, not orange. We found the perfect abelia to bring that fashionable greenish-yellow into your garden – The Twist of Lemon™ Abelia. Just like the twist of lemon in a drink gives it a refreshing zing, this shrub will refresh your beds, brightening and lifting them and giving your garden the color boost it surely needs.
The Twist of Lemon Abelia grows into a dense, rounded evergreen shrub, with many slender branches making a bold mound about 3 feet tall, possibly reaching 5 feet if left untrimmed, with a broad form that will stretch 5 or 6 feet wide. It is densely branched, so it never looks bare and thin, but always bushy and full. The leaves are in pairs all along the branches, and they are oval, tapering to a point, a little more than one inch long. The edges of the leaves are shallowly scalloped, their smooth surface is glossy and bright, and they always look attractive. Young leaves and growing tips are coppery red, turning to lemon yellow as they expand. Older leaves become chartreuse green, and then in fall they turn bronzy pink, staying that way through the winter months. These lovely color changes mean this plant is always attractive, always colorful, always cheerful, and never boring.
From early summer into the fall, flowers appear in clusters on the stems. There are many flowers in every cluster, shaped like trumpets, fragrant, and light pink. They are surrounded by a flower-like structure called a calyx, which stays after the flower itself falls. These are bronzy-pink, and they add color for weeks.
With its perfect yellow and chartreuse tones, this is a plant that brightens any part of your garden, without conflicting with other colors, or looking out of place. Its subtle tones look perfect against dark green plants, so use it to brighten up dull spots in front of old evergreens. Line a pathway with it, or dot it around as color accents – wherever you plant it, this is one bush that will always look great anywhere. Because it is relatively wide for its height, it is a perfect filler for blank spots, since you can plant them 3 or even 4 feet apart, and yet create a continuous mass of vegetation. It clips easily too, so trim it into neat hedges or edging along a path or driveway.
The Twist of Lemon Abelia stays evergreen, and it is completely hardy, in zone 7 and all warmer zones. In zone 6 it may shed some leaves in winter, and some branches may die back. Don’t worry, this is not a problem. Just cut out any dead branches and it will bounce back with lots of new growth in no time at all.
This bush grows well in both full sun and partial shade. With lots of sun it will flower more, and the colors will be stronger and more yellow. In more shade it will be more chartreuse, but that is a color that looks wonderful in shade. It grows well in any well-drained soil, except for extremely dry ones, and a little water during dry periods and some spring fertilizer will give you rich, lush growth and good coloring.
Once established, there is really nothing much you need to do for the Twist of Lemon Abelia – it truly is a low-maintenance shrub. Some trimming in spring will keep it neat, compact and bushy. Once it is older, remove a few of the oldest stems close to ground level in early spring, to encourage new growth. You can also trim it regularly but be aware that this will reduce flowering – but encourage lots of bright new shoots. Pests and diseases are very rare, and deer usually leave it alone.
Most wild abelia come from China and Asia, and they were brought to Europe a long time ago. Two of them, Abelia chinensis and Abelia uniflora, were used in 1886 at the Rovelli nurseries in Pallanza, on Lake Maggiore, northern Italy, to create Abelia x grandiflora, a shrub that has been popular in warmer gardens ever since then. There have been lots of new varieties created from that original plant, and we stock several of the best. The one officially called ‘gretol’ was probably created in America some years ago, but we have no information about its exact origin. To bring it to a wider gardening audience, the Greenleaf Nursery Company has made it available with the trademark name, Twist of Lemon™, one of their Garden Debut® ‘trusted plant’ selection of reliable garden shrubs.
When you are wondering what colors to plant, you can’t go wrong with lemon yellow or chartreuse. Among evergreen shrubs the Twist of Lemon Abelia is one of the best for those colors, so it is very popular, and in high demand. Our supply is limited, and with such high demand they will soon be gone, so order now and brighten up your garden for every day of the year.