One of the questions about Kaleidoscope Abelia that comes up often is about pruning. I love the look of these evergreen shrubs when they are allowed to grow wild but admittedly they can get a little out of hand. So, the question is when and how often should you prune Kaleidoscope Abelia?
You should prune Kaleidoscope Abelia towards the end of winter. This is because that’s when the plant is dormant. Note that Kaleidoscope Abelia blossoms on new wood, which is why pruning when new growth has started is detrimental. This new growth begins in spring.
The Kaleidoscope Abelia is not a fussy plant. However, for best results, you still need to provide the most suitable growing conditions. Keep reading to learn what this entails.
How Often You Should Cut Back Kaleidoscope Abelia
Kaleidoscope Abelia is one of the easiest plants to cultivate. You do not need to cut it back often, unless you are an expert gardener who knows exactly what to cut off. We advise you not to touch the plant during the growing season.
However, you can trim it lightly between spring and fall to maintain its shape.
When you are pruning during this period, look out for new wood on which the blooms would grow and ensure that you do not prune them off. The time for the major pruning is during or towards the end of winter.
What Is Pruning and Its Benefits?
Pruning, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, is a practice in horticulture where part(s) of a tree, plant, vine, or shrub is removed or reduced.
The parts to be removed are those that are no longer aesthetically pleasing or would do more harm than good to the plant. They are parts that no longer contribute to the growth of the plant or its productiveness (source).
Benefits of Pruning
There are three major benefits of pruning, as follows:
- Safety: Generally speaking, if you have a tall tree/plant, overgrown or infested branches can pose a hazard to lives and property. Pruning off these branches ensures the safety of the inhabitants of the house and even passers-by. Additionally, pests and vermin will no longer have nesting or hideaway options.
- Enhances plant health and productivity: When you prune a plant, you enhance its health, help it grow better, and have healthy fruits/blooms. If you leave an infested branch on a plant, chances are that it will infect the entire plant.
- Improves the aesthetics of the property: Pruning enables you to manage and maintain the size and shape of your plant. With the Kaleidoscope Abelia, you would get the best of its ever-changing but colorful foliage and healthy blooms. This would certainly increase your property’s curb appeal.
How To Prune Kaleidoscope Abelia
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of pruning your plant and when and how often you should perform this task, let’s find out how to do it:
- You can prune off about a third of the plant’s height, enhancing new growth come spring. However, ensure you do not go below 1/3 of the plant’s height. Although Kaleidoscope Abelia would grow back from over-pruning (it can actually survive severe pruning), that’s not the best for the plant.
- If you have branches below the 1/3 height cut-off point that are dead or dying, it’s best to cut them off. If there are none, just leave the old branches for new offshoots and blooms.
Gardening enthusiasts and horticulturists commonly agree that flowering plants and shrubs should be left to ‘establish’ before you think of pruning. For some, this may be a year, and for others, 2 or 3 years. What you can do in that period is a bit of shaving and trimming but no serious pruning.
General Care and Maintenance of Kaleidoscope Abelia
The Abelia family is regarded as an excellent starter plant for newbie gardeners. This is because it is a hardy plant that requires little attention. It is in the class of plants that are super easy to maintain.
That said, as with anything in life, if you put in a little more attention than usual, you get better results. This means that paying more attention to your plant, even though it is low maintenance, will give you far more beautiful blooms than you can imagine.
Here are a few maintenance tips:
Plant in the Right Soil and Under the Right Temperature
Ensure that you plant your Kaleidoscope Abelia in well-draining soil because it doesn’t like waterlogged soil. Also, slightly acidic soil is best. Therefore, do not use acid neutralizers such as lime.
The best type of fertilizer for Abelia is FoxFarm Happy Frog Fertilizer (link to Amazon), a slow–release granular fertilizer made for plants that grow better in acidic soil.
Furthermore, your plant will produce more and better flowers with full sun. Therefore, ensure to plant it where it will get the benefit of full sunlight. However, if you live in a very hot region, a partial shade will do.
Although Kaleidoscope Abelias are known to withstand drought, they would do well with regular watering (about 2 to 3 times weekly). However, you must ensure that there is no standing water in the bed or container.
The soil should be moist at all times. This means your plant should have at least one inch (2.54 cm) of water every week. It would require more than one inch (2.54 cm) of water if you live in a hot and dry region.
To test the soil’s moisture level, stick your finger 3 inches (7.62 cm) below the soil level. If it feels dry, go ahead and water the plant, but if it feels damp, do not water it.
Be on the Lookout for Diseases and Pests
Kaleidoscope Abelia and, in fact, the Abelia family as a whole are known to be hardy plants that seldom have any issues with diseases and pests. Nonetheless, you must watch out for aphids that may gather on the foliage.
These can usually be removed easily by hosing down the leaves.