boldly colored foliage of the Kaleidoscope abelia
gives its landscape interest in all seasons.
you think the abelia is the ho hum, Millard Fillmore of
shrubs, then you have not seen Kaleidoscope. This
morning at 10 a.m., it looked as though the security
lights would have to come on: It was dark, misty and
dreary, but the Kaleidoscope abelias stood out like a
beacons in the landscape with almost flaming or glowing
people have never heard of an abelia, or for sure the
variety Kaleidoscope. But the glossy foliage that seems
to be ever-changing in shades of green, golden-yellow,
red and orange makes Kaleidoscope a winner even if it
never blooms. It is reaches 36 inches tall with a 4-foot
spread and is environmentally friendly due to its
do bloom — almost non-stop. In fact many consider
these to be among the longest blooming in the market.
The lightly fragrant, funnel-shaped flowers will prove
to be a popular stop in the garden for hummingbirds,
bees and butterflies.
colorful foliage and arching habit makes the abelia a
nice contrasting combination plant among evergreens. At
the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, ours are in close
proximity to Soft Caress mahonia and spreading yew,
while others are planted ever so picturesque in front of
you get your Kaleidoscope abelia plant, consider
planting an odd-numbered cluster in full to part sun.
Prepare the bed by incorporating 3 to 4 inches of
organic matter and 2 pounds of a 12-6-6 fertilizer per
100 square feet of planting area, tilling deeply.
the planting hole two to three times as wide as the
rootball but no deeper. Place the abelia in the hole and
backfill with soil to two-thirds the depth. Tamp the
soil and water to settle, add the remaining backfill,
repeat the process and apply mulch.
though some may consider abelias among the top plants in
durability, they will still need managing while they
establish. We want those roots to go from the rootball
to the adjacent soil and become at home in your
landscape. This takes water, and all shrubs will need
this during the first year. This is also one of the
reasons we horticultural types promote spring and fall
planting so much. These less stressful seasons allow the
roots to really take off.
your plants are established, there is not much required.
Feed in late winter with a light application of a slow
released 12-6-6 fertilizer equaling about 1 pound per
100 square feet of planted area. Even though it is
considered to have a dry to average moisture
requirement, maintaining an even supply of water during
prolonged dry spells makes for an incredible showy
addition to Kaleidoscope you may also want to consider
Mardi Gras, which has rose pink, with green and white
variegation. Another recent introduction called Sunrise
is also gaining recognition. It has white flowers and
green foliage with margins that are gold to creamy
yellow. The Sunrise name comes into play by the change
in fall leaf color. The leaves turn shades of yellow,
orange and red.
you plant some, you will probably start to ask yourself
the question, why did I wait so long?