Abelia 'Rose Creek'

Overall Plant
Common Name: abelia 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to September
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Erosion


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best flowering is in full sun. Prefers moist, organically rich soils which drain well. Evergreen in the South, but generally deciduous in the St. Louis area where stems may suffer substantial damage (including dying to the ground) in cold winters. Significant stem damage can be expected when winter temperatures approach zero degrees F. Best sited in a protected location in the St. Louis area. Blooms on new wood, so prune as needed (e.g., thin to the ground up to 1/3 of old stems and any stems lost to winter) in late winter to early spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Abelia is a genus of about 30 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs in the honeysuckle family from the Himalayas to East Asia and in Mexico. They are long flowering with small but showy flowers.

Genus name honors Dr. Clark Abel (1789-1826), English naturalist and physician.

‘Rose Creek’ is a compact, dense, low-mounded hybrid featuring red stems clad with glossy button-like leaves which emerge with pink tinting in spring before turning an attractive dark green. This shrub typically matures to 2-3’ tall and to 3-4’ wide. It is evergreen in USDA Zones 7-9 where leaves turn interesting shades of soft purple-green in winter. In St. Louis (Zone 6A), this shrub is semi-evergreen to deciduous depending upon the severity of the winter temperatures. Tubular, fragrant, white flowers (to 1/2” long) subtended by rosy sepals bloom in late spring to early summer, with some continued bloom occurring throughout summer into fall.

‘Rose Creek’ (originally known as seedling #12) was one of 32 open pollinated Abelia seedlings (A. chinensis was the maternal parent) produced, examined and evaluated at the Center for Applied Nursery Research, Dearing, Georgia, in an Abelia chinensis study commenced in 1997. Seedling #12 was subsequently named ‘Rose Creek’ in reference to a creek of the same name located in Oconee County, Georgia. ‘Rose Creek’ was the most compact of the 32 plants chosen for evaluation.


No serious insect or disease problems. Winter die-back may occur in the St. Louis area.


Specimen or grouping for shrub borders or foundations. Also effective as an informal hedge (plants tend to lose attractive graceful shape if pruned or sheared to a more formal hedge look).

Compact size of ‘Rose Creek’ facilitates use in mixed borders, along walkways, or for mass plantings on slopes or banks as a shrubby cover. Patio containers.