Curly abelia at home

Among the flowering indoor plants, almost all shrubs have become true legends. But if gardenias or rhododendrons, camellias and roses are universal favorites that do not lose their popularity, then many people still perceive abelias as exotic. These are magnificent plants with a pronounced oriental character, conquering with the density and curliness of the crown, the abundance and grace of flowering. The relentless flowering from the second half of summer to mid-autumn cannot leave anyone indifferent. Even their very difficult character can be forgiven for their beauty.

Abelia large-flowered (Abelia x grandiflora). Farmer Didier Ting

Eastern grace abelia

Among indoor plants, there are not so many plants that have an oriental charm. Despite the fact that representatives of the genus Abelia (Abelia) grow not only in southeast Asia, but also in Mexico, it is with China and Japan that this plant is primarily associated. Abelia received the status of one of the most spectacular flowering cultures not by chance. Indeed, in this plant, the most attractive feature is precisely flowering.

Amazing representatives of honeysuckle (Caprifoliaceae), abelia are subtropical and distinctly oriental plants. They express their character of culture with Japanese or Chinese style and the same influence on the interior so clearly that they can outshine even rhododendrons.

Abelia is a deciduous and evergreen shrub that naturally occurs mainly in the subtropical climate of China. These plants are equally known as garden and indoor plants. The maximum height of cultivated abelia is limited to 2 meters, but more often the plants do not even grow up to 1,5 m. But this does not in any way reduce their massiveness: the abelia bushes seem not just large, but overwhelmingly voluminous. They hide the surrounding space, look like lush and dense, and in small rooms they are perceived as very inappropriate. Therefore, this plant is used for spacious and large rooms – where it is possible to provide enough free space.

The pubescent shoots and ovoid leaves of abelia up to 3 cm long with a sharp tip pleasantly surprise with a discreet glossy sheen and a dark color, which on the reverse side of the leaf plates is replaced by bright green. The pubescent bases of their veins are in harmony with the shoots of Abelia, and the opposite arrangement and short petioles are another easily recognizable features of this shrub, giving the crown an ornament and intricacy.

Abelia grandiflora (Abelia x grandiflora)Abelia large-flowered (Abelia x grandiflora). Farmer Wouter Hagens

Fragrant inflorescences-brushes in Abelia bloom only in the upper part of the shoots, but inflorescences are both apical and axillary. In them sit on short pedicels medium-sized, porcelain-like, oblong bell-shaped flowers with five sepals and a bell-shaped corolla with five petals. The edges of the petals are bent asymmetrically, they are always slightly lighter than the color of the tube. The length of the flowers does not exceed 2 cm, but the change in color from white to ever brighter pink seems amazing. The flowering period of abelia lasts from July to October.

In indoor culture, Abelia x grandiflora is most often found. This is a spectacular semi-evergreen plant with a maximum two meters in height, ovoid leaves of a dark, muted color. The branches are very thin and long, drooping gracefully, changing the “young” pink color to a darker purple. The flowers of the large-flowered abelia are white and very fragrant, in the axillary racemes, they seem lacy and adorn with fused five petals. Flowering of this species often falls on the cold season, in favorable conditions it lasts from October to June. In addition to the basic plant, there are also individual varieties with pink, snow-white, bright fuchsia, lilac colors, and even variegated varieties that look amazingly mosaic.

Three other indoor types are much less common:

  1. Abelia chinensis (Abelia chinensis) is a semi-evergreen, profusely flowering species with a particularly graceful crown of drooping shoots, oval dark leaves and white bells of flowers, on which red strokes appear timidly.
  2. Abelia triflora (Abelia triflora) is a deciduous species that is often “driven” into trees, with lanceolate dark leaves and graceful pale pink flowers with a refined tube.
  3. Abelia small-leaved (Abelia parvifolia) is an interesting species with delicate lilac flowers with a hairy edge and oval small leaves.

Abelia triflora (Abelia triflora)Abelia triflora. Farmer Jo
Abelia small-leaved (Abelia parvifolia)Abelia small-leaved (Abelia parvifolia)
Abelia Chinese (Abelia chinensis)Abelia Chinese (Abelia chinensis)

Caring for abelia at home

Abelia, like many flowering shrubs, are capricious plants. Growing them is not easy even for experienced flower growers, but with diligence you can achieve success and admire the beauties for many years. The main difficulties are caused by the need to keep abelia in a cool winter, and the selection of other conditions requires careful analysis for their compliance with the characteristics of the plant.

Lighting for abelia

This shrub is quite capricious. Abelias prefer a scattered but bright location. It is better to protect them from direct sunlight, but even the slightest shading negatively affects the attractiveness of the bushes.

The eastern and western windowsills are considered the best place for abelia, but in the transitional seasons and in winter, this beauty is better placed on the southern windows.

Comfortable temperature

Abelia is considered a plant that thrives in greenhouse conditions. It grows well and blooms especially abundantly in the cool, but it adapts well to indoor conditions. True, with room rates – from 18 degrees and above – Abelia will only put up with spring and summer. But in winter, the plant will have to find a cooler place. During the dormant period, even evergreen and semi-evergreen abelias prefer temperatures not lower than 10, but also not higher than 15 degrees Celsius.

When changing the conditions of abelia, you need to act very carefully, lowering and increasing the temperature gradually. Any sudden changes in temperature, even by 5 degrees, can cause the leaves to begin to shed. This beauty will have to be protected from drafts, and from active air flows, and from air conditioners with heating systems. For abelia, all parameters related to temperature and air must be stabilized as much as possible.

Watering and air humidity

Abelia is not too demanding on the irrigation regime, she can put up with fluctuations in soil moisture, but extremes should not be allowed. The intensity of watering for this plant directly depends on the stage of its development and air temperature. In summer, Abelias are watered abundantly and often, in winter – more rarely and with a small amount of water. It is best for the plant to maintain a stable average soil moisture by allowing the potted substrate to dry out between these treatments from above.

Despite the general capriciousness, abelia always pleasantly surprises in one thing – it does not need high humidity, ordinary spraying can even be quite dangerous due to the tendency to spread rot. It is better to keep Abelia in dry rooms than to overdo it with humidity. The only time when the plant will not give up spraying is summer, and even then such measures are needed only on the hottest days. When spraying abelia, you need to be careful not to soak the leaves too much. In the cold season, even if it is not possible to provide coolness to Abelia, spraying is never carried out, and any moisturizing procedures will not be able to compensate for the incorrect temperature regime.

Abelia grandiflora (Abelia x grandiflora)Abelia large-flowered (Abelia x grandiflora). Farmer provenwinners

Top dressing for abelia

Top dressing for this beauty is carried out only in spring and summer. The standard frequency is quite suitable for this plant: 1 feeding with a frequency of 2 times a month is enough.

For abelia, you need to choose fertilizers for flowering plants. If you have your own garden and a supply of high-quality fertilizers, then you can use for abelia and organic fertilizers (for example, mullein), which is applied once a month throughout the entire active period of development. But it is “safer” to use complex or mineral mixtures.

Trimming abelia

Without special formation and stimulation of flowering, it will not be possible to achieve a colorful show from oriental abelias. Pruning is a must-have item. For evergreen abelias, it is traditionally carried out as soon as flowering ends, but for deciduous ones – in February or March. But for indoor semi-evergreen abelias, the best strategy is pruning at the end of winter, before active growth begins.

On abelias, pruning is carried out quite strongly, removing not only dry, damaged or weak branches, but also shortening the remaining ones by one third or half the length, or at will to give a certain shape. You should not be afraid of such a strong pruning: Abelia grows quickly and usually doubles the volume of the crown by the end of summer.

If you want to use drooping shoots of a plant and grow Abelia as an ampelous crop, then pruning can be reduced to removing damaged shoots and allowing the plant to stretch as you wish.

Transplant and substrate

A universal balanced substrate is best for abelia. It is better to choose a soil mixture from among special substrates for flowering crops. When the soil is mixed independently, sand, peat, turf and humus soil are combined in equal parts. The optimum reaction of the soil is 5,5-6,0 pH.

The transplant of this shrub is carried out as needed, and not annually, allowing the roots to fully master the substrate. Abelia can be transplanted throughout the spring, carefully transferring it while preserving the main earthen coma.

After the Abelia transplant, you need to give time to adapt. Watering is carried out carefully, controlling the state of the substrate. And feeding is resumed only after two or even three months.

Abelia grandiflora (Abelia x grandiflora)Abelia grandiflora (Abelia x grandiflora). Farmer blumen-eber

Diseases and pests of abelia

Abelia, with good care, demonstrates enviable resistance, but with errors with watering, plants are often affected by rot. Of the pests, aphids are the most problematic for abelia, but spider mites and thrips are also dangerous. It is better to deal with problems with a combination of correction of care and treatment with insecticides or biological products (for example, tobacco infusion is very effective).

Reproduction of abelia

This plant is most easily obtained from green cuttings, which are cut from the tops of the shoots, leaving 5 leaves on the cuttings. Cut the cuttings of abelia only in the spring (you can also use the branches remaining after pruning). Rooting is carried out in sand or sandy-peat substrate at a temperature of about 25 degrees. Immediately after rooting, the plants are planted in individual containers.

Can be propagated by abelia and seeds. Sowing is carried out in January in loose universal soil. Under glass or film in bright light and room temperatures, seedlings appear and develop quickly. They dive into pots after the appearance of the third true leaf. With good care, seedlings can bloom already in the year of sowing.

Abelia actively forms root shoots. When transplanting, young plants can be separated from the main bush, and strong bushes can be obtained from each sprout, and separation can be carried out annually.

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Anna Evans

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