17 Hot new abelias

first_imgBy Gary WadeUniversity of GeorgiaPlant breeders have come a long way in developing new plants withseasonal characteristics that give them outstanding appeal in thelandscape. Volume XXXNumber 1Page 17 Two great examples these new shrubs are Rose Creek and CanyonCreek abelias. These exciting new shrubs come from the breedingprogram of Michael Dirr at the University of Georgia.Since their release in 2001 and 2002, respectively, these plantshave earned the admiration of nurserymen, landscapers andgardeners nationwide. They were chosen from a large field ofstrong contenders for a coveted Georgia Gold Medal Award in 2005.Rose Creek and Canyon Creek abelias are seedling selections ofChinese abelia (Abelia chinense). They wereopen-pollinated with other abelia cultivars, so their exactparentage is unknown.Rose CreekRose Creek was selected for its low mounding growth habit,crimson stem color, fragrant white flowers and exceptionally longbloom period (May to frost).The plant grows 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. It’s anexcellent choice for foundation plantings, containers orlow-growing hedges.Rose Creek has evergreen leaves that emerge with a pinkish cast,turn a lustrous, dark green in summer and then darken topurple-green in winter, giving the plant an ever-changingseasonal interest.It bears cluster after cluster of white, fragrant, tubularflowers, about a half-inch long, throughout the growing season.Below each flower are small, light pink, modified leaves, calledthe calyx, which remain on the plant after the flowers fade andprovide even more pizzazz to the floral display.Canyon CreekCanyon Creek abelia is larger than Rose Creek, growing 4 to 6feet tall and wide. It’s a great hedging plant and is idealchoice for a mixed perennial border. New leaves emerge with acoppery pink cast that mellows to a soft yellow, then green, thenrosy bronze in winter.Flowers are fragrant, tubular, light pink and are borne inclusters from May until frost. The flowers are surrounded attheir base by a star-shaped, reddish pink calyx that persistslong after the flowers drop, so the plant appears to have twoflower forms present at the same time all season.Both abelias are drought-tolerant, deer-resistant and hardy fromzones 6 to 9. They grow well in full sun to partial shade. Andpests seldom bother them. They’re highly attractive tobutterflies and bees, too.They may require some light pruning from time to time to removelanky shoots. Otherwise, both plants look their best when allowedto develop a natural, informal look.(Gary Wade is an Extension Service horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.)last_img

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