Fragrant or Korean Abelia
Fragrant or Korean Abelia (Abelia mosanensis) is a hardy member of this otherwise rather tender group of plants. Most Abelias are grown in warmer climates, usully only hardy to zone 7 or higher. The Korean Abelia is grown for its pest and disease resistance, tolerance of shade, hardiness and, most of all, itís delightfully fragrant, soft pink flowers. In late May and early June, over a 2-3 week period, terminal clusters of rosy-pink tubular buds open to reveal soft pink to white interiors. The trumpet-shaped corolla is divided into 5 lobes and is perfectly suited to the long proboscis of butterflies and hummingbirds. The sweet and spicy fragrance of the flowers is strong and lovely and suggests a position near sitting areas or windows. This 4-6í tall shrub will demand little attention Ė it is tolerant of dry conditions and itís glossy, ovate foliage seems impervious to fungal disease, deer, or serious insect problems. At the end of the season it will reward you with a foliar display which includes hints of red and orange. Korean Abelia is fully deciduous so will drop itís leaves at the end of the season.
Native to South Korea (Itís specific epithet is derived from the S. Korean town of Mosan), this multi-stemmed shrub is hardy to USDA Zone 4. As a member of the Caprifoliaceous family it shares close ties with Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis), and our native Twinflower (Linnaea borealis), Seven-sons-flower (Heptacodium miconioides), Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.), Snowberry (Symphorocarpos sp.), Weigela sp., and the delightfully fragrant Valeriana species. Flowers are formed on the previous yearís wood so do your shaping and pruning right after flowering to allow time for buds to form for next year.