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kaleidoscope abelia pruning

Posted by Trang2 Seattle, WA (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 1, 12 at 16:18

Hello,

I planted a kaleidoscope abelia last July, and lovely foliage has been growing. However, the first several inches of the branches are barren. So, as the leaves grow out, it's leaving a leafless "hole" of empty branches in the middle of the shrub.

As I gear up for spring pruning , I'm not quite sure how best to do it - there aren't really any branches that are completely bare, so if I clear out some of the middle, I'd be taking branches with leaves too.

Any suggestions are most welcome! Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

All Abelias do get a bit woody after a while but it sounds like yours is a young plant. I have a dozen or so A. 'Kaleidoscope' but they are all less than 2-3 years old and I haven't had to do any pruning yet. However, I have cut A. 'Silver Anniversary' back hard and it has responded very well - completely regrew, etc. Monrovia says 'Kaleidoscope' can be 'sheared', so that makes it sound like it will leaf out just fine from the cuts. Goodness knows regular old A. grandiflora can be hacked to the ground and it comes back.
Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Form and Foliage


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

when in doubt.. i let new [to me] plants.. to fully bud out in spring ... and see how it reacts ...

and then come late spring or mid summer.. i might go in there and do some selective pruning.. looking toward a favorable shape ...

technically.. your plant is not even established.. so all i would look for .. is for it to bud this spring ... and try to get 'established ...

now.. just because you buy something in july.. let me suggest.. that NOTHING should be planted in july/august ... and even in your temperate area .. you stressed the heck out of it ... and perhaps that is why it is somewhat leafless ...

next summer ... regardless of when you buy.. hold the plants in pot .. until the proper planting time.. in fall/winter.. whenever it is for that plant in your area ...

good luck

ken


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

Ken out here we do generally suggest that plants are better off in the ground than in pots, unless they will not receive enough irrigation in the ground, even in July. Yeah, we try not to buy plants then, but the nurseries always have the best stock in summer and so we do fall into the trap. I planted three of my A. 'Kaleidoscope' in mid-summer two years ago, made sure that they were adequately irrigated and they did fine. Seattle is even moister and cooler than we are in Northern California, so I doubt that the planting stressed it terribly. Abelia do have that funny growth habit - I see it on the other varieties such as 'Confetti', 'Silver Anniversary' as well as 'Kaleidoscope'. And a plant that the grower says can be sheared generally can take quite a bit of pruning. It's not like some genera that won't bud out from old wood. I've worked with Abelia for quite a while so am familiar with some of their quirks!
Trang2 - all the abelias also root quite readily from semi-ripe or hard wood cuttings, so if you do prune, you might want to start some more!

Here is a link that might be useful: Form and Foliage


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 3, 12 at 13:39

Note that the above names are not cultivars but rather trade names that are not enclosed in quote marks. Regarding original question what may be seen is probably normal appearance of plant's shoots, with it not being practical or desirable to try and force shrub into being something it is not. Like most other shrubs seen in commercial landscape settings these days abelias are often closely sheared into graceless tight unnatural forms. Even though they tolerate this approach it does not mean formal pruning of these is a good idea under most circumstances.


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

Yes good point about those trade names...it just makes it even MORE confusing when people can refer to a plant by three names! I never shear Abelia into tight forms, but they can get very woody and leggy and can tolerate hard pruning to bring them back. Kaleidoscope and Silver Anniversary particularly (Confetti, too, actually) have a tendency to get a bit barren in the middle and cutting out the leggy stuff will force lateral buds and they'll fill in. We're in the category of aesthetic pruning here, so much is in the eye of the beholder. Silver Anniversary is showing some unpleasant signs of excessive (to me) reversion, and I'm hoping that Kaledoscope doesn't have the same tendencies...

Here is a link that might be useful: Form and Foliage


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 3, 12 at 19:43

This is a variegated form and, although a number of other variegated abelias have appeared in recent years, ‘Hopleys’, one of the oldest, stood out. In particular, unlike most of the other variegated forms, it did not produce green shoots which would smother the more colourful variegated growth. This is a major plus point. It also survived five winters without damage

Here is a link that might be useful: Abelia x grandiflora 'Hopleys' / RHS Gardening


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

Thx! Will check it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Form and Foliage


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

Ken out here we do generally suggest that plants are better off in the ground than in pots, unless they will not receive enough irrigation in the ground, even in July.

===>>> you can stick the pot and all in the ground.. using mother earth to temper the heat .. etc ...

and then PROPERLY plant it at the PROPER TIME ...

a pot must never be in the sun .. as the black plastic heats roots.. and that is not good ... i keep my pots in full shade ... or in the ground.. and plant in the next available PLANTING TIME ...

and keep in mind.. i may not be telling this to gardeners of vast long term experience.. they get away with a lot of stuff .. that newbies might not.. and my best advice to a newbie is to learn when the PROPER planting time is in your garden.. and plant then .. not in july/august ...

regardless.. it is never a good thing to significantly prune.. or top ... a newly planted .. UN-established plant ...

leaves are food making machines.. and if you cut half of them off .. what is going to feed the plant to grow the roots.. to get fully established ...

ken


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 4, 12 at 12:39

The food made by leaves is stored in stems, so if you cut back stems there is less energy for root growth also. Pots in the ground provide an opportunity for roots to escape through drain holes, if this goes far enough you are left with mostly old roots inside the pot at final planting time.

Of course, a plant that is rooting out through drain holes is long overdue for getting out of the pot anyway. This is another negative aspect of plunging pots instead of planting out, the amount of time it is okay for a plant to be in a particular pot is not that long - the frequency with which badly under-potted stock is encountered has made me come to think of pots as plant coffins. Some pretty big, high profile wholesale operations routinely churn out what is frankly garbage, with terribly deformed roots and such crap practices as cutting the tops back instead of potting on being much in evidence. So it can appear that poor situations (for the plants) are normal or acceptable.


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

Can we get back to the discussion of pruning abelia. I planted two maybe 1or 2 gal pots of what I was so excited to get a kaleidoscope abelia, two years ago. When I popped these beautiful babies out of the pots, the socalled root ball fell apart. My other abelia are shrubs with a main stem/ trunk and multi branched shape. This looked like a perfectly cared for and shaped shrub, better than my others, rose creek, and canyon creek. Each one was just a huge mess of rooted cuttings, and it all fell apart, I knew this was not right. I planted them as best I could, I know I should have returned them, but I had not found them anywhere else. I called my garden center about it, to complain, they that was just the way growers do it. So now I have a real mess of a "shrub", a sprawling unkempt, though beautiful MESS! Thought I would just pull up and divide or separate, never got to it. Any suggestions on how to fix it?


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

if planted two years ago .. and still alive.. you are all set ...

now google: renovation pruning of flowering shrubs ... or RPof abelia...

and spend some time to get them back into a more normal shape and form ...

and no more of this:===>>>, never got to it.

ken


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

You can cut it back hard if it is really messy and just let it begin again. I cut back several a couple of months ago and they are almost back to the size that they were, but much tighter and fresher looking. They do put up water-sprouts from the cuts, so be prepared for thick, rigid vertical sprouts from the center, but they are easy to snip off. I generally don't bother with rejuvenation pruning with these because they don't have the clear structure that for instance the Spirea or Philadelphus have and they are much smaller. Or maybe I just never got to it....

Sara


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

I already thought I might anyway, i love them. They are on either side of my front porch steps. i know its not a good time to prune them, winter is best. I am going to start with the one that does not greet you when you come up the walk, as it has overgrown the plum pudding heucheras. I think I will try to dig up half of it and see what I have, cant make it worse. No hard and fast rules, I know and they are pretty forgiving. I submitted a photo of my sweet little vignette to the garden gallery. With the lorapetulum, the kaleidescpoe, and Johnson Blue geranium.


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

Okay it is june 7 here in Ga, with 80 almost 90 degree days upon us. I am going to tackle the abelia tomorrow. If I prune it, and i have all those cuttings, if they happen to root, how would that happen?


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

I actually just looked at the RP- abelia. Heres the deal, its not that they need to be renovated, never been sheared, nor overgrown. I thought maybe it was not clear that it is just a bunch of happily growing cuttings, that were probably given steroids to grow into what looked like a three year old shrub. It is not messy, it is growing beautifully, but it inside it is just a tangled up mess of twigs, so it will never grow properly, no matter how I prune it. Yes, sure, some of the same approach is needed. I'll get back to you on how it goes.


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

That's kinda how they grow - a tangled up mess of twigs. That's why rather than rejuvenation prune them I just cut them hard (almost to the ground) and let them leaf out again.

Sara


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

Sorry - missed the cuttings question. Abelia is propagated from softwood cuttings - I took many a couple of years ago in July here and had about 80% success rate. They are slow to come on - I waited a year and a half before planting them out, partly because between the dogs running through the garden and the jackrabbits grazing the chances of a small thing living are low!

Good luck -

Sara


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

Each one was just a huge mess of rooted cuttings, and it all fell apart, I knew this was not right. I planted them as best I could, I know I should have returned them, but I had not found them anywhere else.

This is not just the way they grow! It is not right! None of my other abelia came this way, grow this way, or were brought up this way by the grower. Imagine taking at least 50 or so cuttings and rooting them in a big pot and pretending they are one shrub, and growing it that way. Each one of those cuttings should be one plant, grown for a few years, then sold as a nice size small shrub. Just saying, I know this is not "just how they grow".


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RE: kaleidoscope abelia pruning

Oh jeez...didn't realize that's what you meant. Abelia start out with one stem...sometimes they even have the problem of 'weak necks' when they are young. They will eventually throw up branches from the base, though, but it sounds like yours are young plants. I was referring to the branching structure above the ground.

If you separated them and planted them individually maybe you will get some that survive and can get a fresh start.


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