How to grow Abelia graebneriana

Abelia graebneriana is a rarely seen hardy, deciduous species from within the genus, and discovered in 1910* for western science by the well known plant hunter  Ernest Wilson (1876 – 1930). Native to Central China, its species name is in honour of Carl Otto Robert Peter Paul Graebner (1871-1933), a German German botanist and curator (1904) at the botanical gardens, Berlin. However before we get into how to grow Abelia graebneriana there is a little bit more history to cover.

The plant was named and first described by horticulturist and fellow German  Alfred Rehder,(1863-1949), the details of which were published in the rather long-winded:

'Plantae Wilsonianae' :an enumeration of the woody plants collected in western China for the Arnold arboretum of Harvard university during the years 1907, 1908, and 1910.

However the first edition didn't see the light of day until 1913. That being said,  Abelia graebneriana was renamed in 2012 to Abelia engleriana which is now the accepted name for this plant.

Abelia graebneriana is a vigorous, medium sized shrub which (under favourable conditions) can be expected to grow to approximately 3-4 metres tall. The young shoots are reddish, however as the taper-pointed leaves fully form, they become an attractive glossy green.

The bell-shaped flowers appear in June and July and are apricot in colour with a patterned, yellow- orange throat.

Abelia graebneriana will thrive in most garden soils so long as they are well-drained soil. It will not perform well in shade and so always position in full full sun

*Despite this being the accepted history of discovery, there is a pressed specimen of Abelia graebneriana at the Smithsonian Institution's  Department of Botany. This was collected from Hupeh, China in 1885 by Irish plantsman Augustine Henry (1857–1930).

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