You can’t go wrong with a shrub if you’re looking for a sturdy plant that can take a beating. So which is the better option between abelia and spiraea?
Abelia is a genus that includes about 30 species native to Asia. Some of them are evergreen and therefore continue to grow even in the coldest months.
However, it is important to note that they only grow when conditions are optimal, i.e. in warmer climates. The rest of the abelias are deciduous, so they lose their leaves in the fall and shine again in late fall. winter.
Spiralia is another genus that includes up to 80 species. It is easy to grow and maintain and has beautiful flowers that are ideal for landscaping like the abelia.
I’ll break down what makes these shrubs similar and what sets them apart. This allows you to easily see what would work best for your space.
Abelia vs Spirea – What are the similarities?
Let’s start with what these plants have in common, shall we?
they are bushes
Abelias and spireaas have several woody stems that grow out of the ground. And this allows them to spread over a large area and give structure and character to any landscape.
You can use them as a statement/accent in the garden or add them to the hedge. In addition, they are home to bees, butterflies and other insects that contribute to the ecological balance of your home.
They require little maintenance
Most people are looking for plants that require minimal care and still grow well. And that would make abelia and spirea a good choice.
Take the Abelia, for example. Once established, it can depend solely on rain to continue growing, and it will flower well enough to attract pollinators.
They are rarely infested with pests due to their hardy nature. Spiraea is just as hardy and you don’t have to worry much about it.
They like exposure to the sun.
Abelias and spiraea have flowering species. And as with all flowering species, they like lots of access to light.
Only then can its leaves produce enough food to sustain the growth of the bushes. But how much sun should these plants get?
Abelia can be placed in full sun (bright or direct). light) and partial sun (bright indirect light/dappled light/filtered light).
The latter will still stimulate plant growth, but will result in reduced flowering. If you want the plant to bloom well, place it in full sun.
However, if you live in an area where temperatures can get too hot in the summer or afternoon, you can opt for partial shade.
Spirea should always be in full sun if you want it to produce lots of healthy flowers.
To get this light, place the plants in:
- South of the garden: This area is in full sun, or
- East of the Garden: For gardeners growing abelias in warm climates, placing the plants in the east allows them to receive full morning sun and avoid the harsh rays of the midday sun.
You don’t need to stay out of the sun lest you damage the leaves of these shrubs.
They grow well on clay soils.
These shrubs do not like to sit in soggy water. Therefore, it is always best to plant them in well-drained soil with moderate water retention and moderate water drainage.
The best soil would be a clay soil mix. You can always buy potting soil directly from a garden store if you can’t get your hands on that soil.
Make sure the soil texture is medium. Also add organic matter to enrich the soil and promote healthy growth of the shrub.
What if the soil is too fine? Clay soils retain too much water. You can modify them by adding sand and other coarse materials.
And if the soil is too coarse, add compost to enrich the soil and increase water retention.
They are drought tolerant.
Many plants sag and die if left without water for long periods. Is this something to worry about abelia and spirea?
It was nothing. You just have to do your best when the plants are young. However, once established, their roots reach lower water tables and can use this moisture to survive periods of neglect.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t water the plants. If the soil seems dry, you can always water the plants. Do this only when necessary to avoid overwatering the plants and overloading the roots.
Abelias are flowering shrubs that produce tubular flowers in shades of white, yellow or pink. These fragrant flowers are several centimeters long and each have four to five petals.
They attract pollinators like bees, adding to the beauty of the garden. Interestingly, abelias bloom from spring to fall. This way, you can enjoy full bloom for three seasons, unlike other plants where flowering lasts several weeks.
To enjoy the flowers longer, make sure the soil has enough water, sunlight and nutrients.
If you choose to prune the plant to slow its growth or control its shape, do so in small sections to avoid weakening it.
Also feed the plant a low nitrogen fertilizer to ensure that the plant focuses on flower production rather than leaf production.
And the spirals? From there, flower clusters of five sepals and five petals arise in spring and summer. The flowering period depends on the variety, some bloom more than others.
Abelia vs Spirea – What are the differences?
While these shrubs have a lot in common, there are a few differences to consider when deciding which is best for your garden. These include:
His growth habits
Abelia includes deciduous and evergreen varieties. So if you want to grow your shrub all year round and live in an area with optimal temperatures, you can.
But with spiraea, all species of the genus are deciduous. Towards the end of autumn, the plants lose their leaves and you have to wait until the end of winter to take advantage of the foliage.
Your preferred soil pH levels
Abelia tolerates neutral soils, so with a pH of 7. While it still does well in such soils, it would do best in slightly acidic soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
In contrast, spirea prefers neutral soils. So if you were to plant them in the same section and use a one-size-fits-all approach, one plant would definitely suffer.
If you want to grow both shrubs in your garden, space them out to ensure soil conditions for one plant won’t harm the other.
Your adult sizes
Looking for an eye-catcher for your garden or another planting addition to your landscape?
Abelia grows to an average height of 2 to 10 feet (0.6 to 3 meters), with a spread of 2 to 8 feet (0.6 to 2.4 meters).
Depending on the spirea chosen, the plant can reach 6 meters in height.
So if you want a tall plant that will attract attention from afar, spirea is a good choice. But if you want a more subtle choice, you can always opt for abelia.
Your ideal growing areas
Abelias come in deciduous and evergreen varieties that can thrive in a variety of climates. are ideal for USDA areas 4 to 11.
Spiraea plants do well in zones 4 to 8. So if you live in warmer zones (9 to 11), it’s best to stick with abelias, as they tolerate higher temperatures better.
The number of species in each genus.
Spiraea has more than 80 species in combination with cultivars and hybrids with improved properties. Varieties differ based on their physical characteristics, giving gardeners a variety of options to enjoy.
Take the spiraea bridal crown as an example. It can grow up to 6 feet tall and has small white flowers that make it ideal for wedding crowns.
The abelia includes about 30 species. Anyone looking for variety may be drawn to spiraea for its wider range of options.
However, the existing species are a feast for the eyes. Consider the Rose Creek Abelia, which has green leaves that turn bronze in the fall. It’s beautiful ! Add to that the fact that the flowers turn from pink to white, and you have a winner!
It is important to note that spiraea and abelia are not species, but word names for the specific genus they represent.
Therefore, when choosing a species within a genus, you should consider the care requirements associated with your choice. You will find that some require you to be more careful than others.