UACES Facebook Abelia
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(March 2014)

QuestionHow and when should I trim my abelia? It has gotten a little leggy and I think there is some winter damage on the tips.

AnswerIf your abelia needs pruning now is the time to do so. Abelia blooms on the new growth, so the key is to prune before it begins new growth. This year we are having a late spring so you have several more weeks to get pruning chores done. Thin out some of the woodier, leggy canes at the soil level to encourage new canes and more fullness and a bit of tip pruning can also be done to remove damage.


(March 2005)

QuestionI am a novice gardener, and am trying to take care of a yard that is loaded with plants—not of my planting. What can you tell me about care and culture for the following: abelia, hydrangea, azaleas, and a yellow rose of Texas? I have them all and don’t know when to prune, how to prune, and what to fertilize with. Help! M. Smith, Hope

AnswerLet’s start alphabetically. Abelia plants are old-fashioned shrubs that bloom pretty much all summer long, with small white bell shaped blossoms. They require very little care. If the plants are overgrown, or need pruning, you can still do it now. They bloom on the new growth. Azaleas have their flower buds set. These popular shrubs do best in a well drained, well amended site preferably protected from the hot, afternoon sun. Morning sun or filtered light is best. Prune as needed after bloom, and fertilize then as well with an azalea fertilizer. They will need supplemental watering throughout the summer, as will the hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are a little odd, in that they bloom in the summer, but set flower buds in the fall. If any pruning is needed, it needs to be done as soon after flowering as possible in the summer. They have multiple canes instead of a single trunk. Thin out some of the taller, older canes to reduce size. Fertilize as growth begins this spring, and again lightly after bloom. The yellow rose of Texas, is Kerria japonica, another old-fashioned spring bloomer. The double-flowered form is most common and can bloom several times a season. This plant can begin to spread out in time, sending up suckers which may need to be thinned. Prune as needed after the first flush of flowers in the spring—again thinning cuts down low, and possible sucker removal. Other than that, it too needs little care.

(September 2007)

QuestionI planted eight abelia's three years ago and they are now five feet tall and very full of branches. The bumble bees and hummingbirds just love them. They have flowers and leaves at the tops but lots of dry, dead sticks below---there are definitely more sticks than leaves. I know that to prune them you thin out the canes, but when can I prune? They just do not look healthy with all the dead wood.

AnswerAbelia’s are tough plants that bloom from May through frost. They are a great plant for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. They are also quite drought tolerant once established. Because they bloom on the current season growth, the correct time to prune them is late February. You can be quite severe if needed, and cut the whole plant way back, or remove one third to one half of the old canes. There are also dwarf varieties that don’t require as much care.

(September 2006)

QuestionI have a new home that is surrounded by woods. We have quite a few deer that we are feeding in the woods. I want to landscape the front of my house soon. Can you tell me any plants that deer are not interested in? The house will have northern exposure. The sun comes across the house so the front has sun most of the day.

AnswerWe do have a list of deer resistant plants that we can send you. However, one word of warning: if you are feeding the deer, you are encouraging them. As long as you continue to have food for them, they should be happy, but if it runs out they can wreak havoc on your landscape. If desperate enough, they can begin to feed on supposedly deer resistant plants. Boxwoods and yaupon hollies are two standard evergreen plants that they usually steer clear of. Others include buckeye, elaeagnus, abelia, nandina and aucuba. On the flip side, they love azaleas, hosta and daylilies, so you may want to avoid those.

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