Cutting Back Abelia Plants: How And When To Prune Abelia

pink abelia
(Image credit: Alamy)

Glossy abelia is a beautiful flowering shrub native to Italy. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9, happy in full sun to partial shade, and tolerant of most soil types and at least some drought. 

In other words, it is a relatively low maintenance plant with a very nice payoff in appearance. It usually reaches a size of about 3 to 6 feet (1-2 m.) in both height and width, and it blooms all summer long. The only real maintenance is in pruning. Keep reading to learn more about when and how to prune an abelia plant.

How and When to Prune Abelia

Cutting back abelia plants isn’t strictly necessary. If you want a hands-off approach to your shrub, that’s fine. However, an annual abelia pruning will go a long way toward keeping your plant compact and neat looking, especially if it’s had a hard winter. 

The best time for pruning glossy abelia shrubs is late winter or very early spring, before it’s started to grow. Glossy abelias produce flowers on new growth, so if you cut back anything after the growing season has started, you’re cheating yourself out of flowers. 

What To Do In Winter

Abelias can survive down to zone 5, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t suffer some winter damage – especially if the winter’s been bad, you may notice some dead branches when spring starts. Luckily, abelias can handle pretty aggressive pruning.

If any branches haven’t made it through the winter, simply cut them away. Even if most of the branches have survived, cutting of branches down to the ground is perfectly fine and should help promote new, compact growth.

It’s as simple as that. Pruning glossy abelia shrubs once per year before the growing season should keep the bush attractive and flowering well.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.