Twist of Lime Abelia

Abelia x grandiflora 'Hopley's'

Twist of Lime Abelia

Abelia x grandiflora 'Hopley's'


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Twist of Lime™ Abelia is a compact evergreen shrub reaching 4 to 5 feet tall and wide. It has small glossy leaves that are green with a bold band of golden yellow around the edge, that turns ivory-white in summer and pink in fall and through winter. From summer into fall clusters of pale lilac-pink flowers are carried in profusion, with persistent white calyxes that hold on the plant for weeks after the flowers fall. Butterflies and sometimes hummingbirds are attracted to the fragrant flowers. A colorful low-maintenance shrub for beds and borders, that can be trimmed into a hedge if needed.

  • Bold variegated leaves in yellow turning to white
  • Fragrant lilac-pink flowers from mid-summer into fall
  • Leaves turn pink in fall and through winter
  • Can be trimmed into a colorful hedge
  • Adaptable to varying light and soil conditions

It is best to grow the Twist of Lime™ Abelia in full sun or partial shade, in any well-drained soil that is not too dry. Poorer soil and urban conditions are tolerated, and pests or diseases almost never appear. Deer usually leave it alone too, and some simple pruning or trimming is all the care needed – and even that is optional.

Plant Hardiness Zones 6-9
Mature Width 4-5
Mature Height 4-5
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 6-9

Abelias are basic shrubs for gardens in warmer zones, but ‘basic’ doesn’t mean ‘boring’. They bloom over a long period, and their glossy foliage looks attractive all year, often changing colors as the seasons pass by. Medium-sized and easily trimmed, they are perfect for building structure in your beds, or among the foundation planting around your home. They make excellent lower hedges, and their resilience and toughness mean they are perfect for urban gardens and difficult locations. You don’t just have to settle for green leaves, either, because with the Twist of Lime™ Abelia you have a plant that is always bright and eye-catching. Its green leaves are edged in a bold stripe of golden yellow in spring, that slides imperceptibly into ivory-white for the summer, and then turns pink in fall. Let’s not forget the abundant pink blossoms from mid-summer to late fall – the exotic butterflies and other pollinators won’t.

Growing the Twist of Lime™ Abelia

Size and Appearance

The Twist of Lime Abelia is a dense, rounded, evergreen shrub with many arching branches, rising to a height of 4 or 5 feet, with a similar spread. It can be trimmed into a smaller bush, or into a hedge. The slender stems are covered all along their length with pairs of small leaves, about 1½ inches long, and oval, tapering to a point. The leaves are smooth, glossy and always attractive, and evergreen except in zone 6, where some may drop during mid-winter. The leaves are rich green, but with a wide, irregular, colored edge along both sides. On new shoots in spring the edge is buttery yellow, and as summer comes its turns a cream-tinted white. Then in fall the edges become pink and the green becomes bronzy, giving the bush an attractive look for the winter. Unlike some other variegated Abelia, this one is stable, and doesn’t keep producing stems with plain green leaves.

Flowering begins in mid-summer, and bunches of flowers are produced continuously into the fall. The small flowers are surrounded by a large papery calyx, which is creamy-white, complementing the leaf coloring. The sweetly-fragrant tubular flowers are pale lilac-pink, and after they drop the white calyx remains for many weeks, keeping the flowering effective over a long period. Butterflies, sphinx moths and occasionally hummingbirds will visit the flowers, bringing movement and color to your garden.

Using the Twist of Lime™ Abelia in Your Garden

Wherever you need some structure and brightness in your garden, that is where to grow the Twist of Lime Abelia. Plant it at the back of smaller beds, or in the middle of larger ones, or tuck it between evergreens around your home. Plant it along a path or driveway, as scattered plants or a continuous row, which can be trimmed if you wish into a hedge, or left untrimmed for a more casual edging. Space plants 2 to 3 feet apart for a continuous row, or for group plantings in beds. It grows well in planters in the warmest zones, where it will always look effective.


The Twist of Lime Abelia is completely hardy and evergreen in zone 7 and all warmer zones. During winter in zone 6 it will lose some leaves, and some branches may be killed back, but it will re-sprout quickly in spring, and soon look great again.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Grow in full sun for the best leaf color and most abundant flowering. However, this plant grows well in partial shade too, with just a few hours of direct sun each day. In zone 9 it will also grow in continuous light shade. Plant it in any well-drained soil, of any type, although very dry soils may not produce the most vigorous growth. A scattering of shrub fertilizer in spring will keep it lush and dense.

Maintenance and Pruning

No serious maintenance is needed for the Touch of Lime Abelia, which is very easy to grow. It can be trimmed to keep it more compact or pruned in spring. Remove a few of the oldest branches at the base, to encourage fresh new stems, and shorten back some of the longer branches at the same time. Remember that frequent trimming in summer will reduce flowering. Pests and diseases are almost never problems, and deer usually leave this shrub alone.

History and Origin of the Twist of Lime™ Abelia

Abelia x grandiflora is a hybrid plant created from two Chinese species, Abelia chinensis and Abelia uniflora. It first appeared in 1886, at the Rovelli nurseries in Pallanza, on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy. In the early 1950s, at Mason’s Nurseries in New Zealand a plant produced a stem that had white edges. This became the variety called ‘Francis Mason’. Sadly, it has a strong tendency to keep producing plain green stems, but in 1992, at Hopleys Nurseries in the small town of Much Hadham in England, a stem with golden yellow edges in spring grew from ‘Francis Mason’. This was named ‘Hopleys’, and it is superior and more stable than the earlier variety. This plant has been released in America by Greenleaf Nursery Company as part of their Garden Debut® trusted selections, with the trademark name Twist of Lime™. You might also find this plant sold as Miss Lemon™, but these are all the same variety.

Buying the Twist of Lime™ Abelia at The Tree Center

In 2009 ‘Hopleys’ won the Award of Garden Merit from the world-renowned Royal Horticultural Society of England, so you know how good it must be. We definitely know how popular it is, and how big the demand is for this bright and easy shrub. You should order now, because they won’t be on our farm for very long at all.

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Twist of Lime Abelia

Abelia x grandiflora 'Hopley's'