Abelia mosanensis (Zabelia tyaihyonii), the Korean Abelia

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Robert Pavlis

Abelia mosanensis (Zabelia tyaihyonii), the Korean Abelia

Abelia mosanensis is a lovely shrub that few people grow. I am not sure why because it is very easy to grow, flowers well every year and is more fragrant than just about any other shrub in my collection. It does sucker a bit, but is easily controlled. It also forms nice red-orange fall colors.

The name of this plant may be under review. The Plant List still calls it Abelia mosanensis as do most references, but a few now call it Zabelia tyaihyonii. Common names include hardy abelia, fragrant abelia and Korean abelia.

Abelia mosanensis, by Robert Pavlis
Abelia mosanensis, by Robert Pavlis

The flowers start out as dark pink buds in late spring and slowly open as white flowers. At that point they become butterfly and insect magnets, all jostling for a chance to get some sweet nectar. The sepals have an attractive pink tint and persist long after the flowers fade. Deer and rabbits never bother it. It tolerates part shade and my bush gets sun from morning until about 1:00 pm.

Abelia mosanensis, by Robert Pavlis
Abelia mosanensis, by Robert Pavlis

It is easy to propagate by removing suckers and it also roots well from cuttings.  It blooms on old wood so it should be pruned after flowering.

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Many sources on the internet claim that the Korean abelia is native to L.atvia. Tim Wood, the plant hunter, tells the story about getting some cuttings from a Latvian lady in Germany. Perhaps this shrub was imported to Latvia early on, and has migrated to other places from there, leading people to believe it is native there? It is native to Korea.

Abelia mosanensis, by Robert Pavlis
Abelia mosanensis, by Robert Pavlis

Abelia mosanensis

(ah-BEE-lee-uh  mo-sahn-EN-sis)

Life Cycle: shrub

Height: 6 m (6-8 ft)

Bloom Time: late spring – early summer

Natural Range: Korea

Habitat: ???

Synonyms: Zabelia tyaihyonii, Abelia tyaihyoni

Cultivation of Abelia mosanensis:

Light: part shade to full sun

Soil: variable

Water: moist to dry

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4– 9

Propagation: seed, division, softwood cuttings

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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

4 thoughts on “Abelia mosanensis (Zabelia tyaihyonii), the Korean Abelia”

  1. I am pretty sure that we had one of these in our backyard when I was growing up. The flowers and foliage look identical to the ones I remember. My parents weren’t much into gardening and it was already established when they bought the house. They’d always told us it was some kind of honeysuckle but the resemblance to the Abelia is far closer than to any honeysuckle images I’ve ever seen.

    I’ll have to add it to my list for my next gardening project. It sounds like it would be a wonderful addition.

  2. I planted one this past fall,and over the winter the bunnies have chewed it right down. Grrr. Hopefully it will recover and it will be protected next winter !


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