Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: April 30, 2009

Kaleidoscope Abelia
Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope'

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Species Native Range: Asia
Hardiness: USDA Zones 6-9
Mature Size: 2-3 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide
Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Soil: Loose, well-drained
Drought Tolerance: Excellent
Ease of Culture: Easy

Long overdue in the world of horticulture is the availability of compact abelias that can be used in smaller landscapes. Now with the cultivar Kaleidoscope, we have not only a compact plant but one with variegated evergreen foliage. As an added bonus to its size and foliage characteristics, this abelia has large tubular white, slightly fragrant flowers that appear in the late summer and early fall. Through the spring and summer, KA has chartreuse leaves with creamy edges that have a spattering of pink. In the fall, the leaves become more pink and crimson and will retain this foliage color through the winter.

Plant KA in full sun to light shade in soil that is well-drained. Foliage color and flowering will be better in full sun. These plants are extremely drought tolerant and once established (in the second year) should require little if any supplemental water.

Grow KA in a full sun bed with other flowering and/or evergreen shrubs, mixed with perennials, annuals or ornamental grasses. Good Companion plants include purple iceplant (Delosperma cooperi), salvia, muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), irises, lantana, etc. Please note that like all abelias, KA will attract bees (and butterflies) to its flowers in the late summer and fall.


Kaleidoscope Abelia has been spotted at the following locations:

Home Depot
Pike Nurseries

Be sure to ask for it at your favorite nursery.

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