How to grow Abelia schumannii
First named in 1911 as Abelia longituba by German botanist Carl Otto Robert Peter Paul Graebner (1871–1933), but then later recognised as a species by fellow German horticulturist and taxonomist Alfred Rehder,(1863-1949), Abelia schumannii has had its fair share of name changes. Commonly known as the Schumann abelia, the species name honours the German botanist Karl Moritz Schumann (1851-1904) - curator of the Botanisches Museum in Berlin-Dahlem from 1880 until 894. However despite the common name remaining, the species name as been reclassified once again and is now correctly accepted as Abelia parvifolia which is known to be a variable species. Hence the confusion.

It was discovered for western science by Ernest Wilson (also known as ‘Chinese’ Wilson) during his 1910 expedition to western and central China, and then subsequently sent to the Arnold Arboretum in the USA. Sadly this gorgeous species is rarely seen for sale and so if you do manage to precure one how do you grow Abelia schumannii in the garden setting?

It is a small, deciduous ornamental shrub which under favourable conditions can be expected to reach a height of approximately 2 metres. It has slender, arching branches, and the new shoots are notable for being purple and covered with downy hairs.

The ovate leaves are green, rounded at the tip and up to about 3 cm long by 1 cm wide. The scented, funnel-shaped blooms are rose-pink with persistent orange-red calyces, and appear in abundance from August to September. Each flower is up to approximately 1.5 cm long.

Abelia schumannii will perform best in a sunny position. It will be happy in most, moist but well-drained garden soils. It is not considered fully hardy in temperate climates so provide a sheltered position, preferably with the protection of a south or west facing wall in any regions that experience freezing conditions.

Abelia schumannii received the Award of Merit (AM) in 1926 from the Royal Horticultural Society and an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1984.

For related articles click onto the following links:

No comments: