“Little Richard” abelia (Abelia x grandiflora “Little Richard”), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 6 through 9, is a compact shrub with shiny green leaves and attractive white blossoms that appear in late spring or early summer. With or without routine pruning, this plant only grows to a maximum size of about 3 feet, making it a smart shrub for smaller spaces.
When To Prune
In moderate climates, like USDA zones 8 through 9, “Little Richard” will overwinter with minimal, if any, damage. Pruning done in the end of winter and the beginning of the spring will enable you to shape your plant while you eliminate some damaged, diseased or dead branches. If pruning in early spring, then do so before the onset of new growth. “Little Richard” shrubs are well-known for their fast growing addiction. Whatever is lost during moderate pruning will be regained throughout the growing season.
“Little Richard” reacts well to severe pruning. Older bushes with twiggy growth or bare spots can benefit from this kind of pruning. Some gardeners cut their “Little Richard” into the bottom biennially to keep a lush, full shrub. You can perform this type of pruning by cutting down the main stem of the shrub to about 6 inches tall. As with other kinds of pruning, this must be completed in late winter or early spring, before the onset of new growth.
Sanitize your pruning tools before you use them to protect against the spread of diseases. An easy-to-make sanitizing solution combines 1 part bleach with 3 parts water. Wash the tools in the process for five minutes and then rinse them before use. For moderate pruning, you ought to examine the abelia and decide which components need to be eliminated and which components can remain. Dead, dry and leafless limbs should be your primary focus. If shaping your bush, decide beforehand how tall you wish your bush to be, and exactly what shape you wish it to take. Severe pruning is easier. After discovering the principal stem or stem, chop the tree off in the foundation, leaving approximately 6 inches of stem over the surface of the soil.
For moderate pruning, hand pruners are inclined to be all you may need. These tools can cut branches up to 3/4 inch thick. For severe pruning, in most cases the best tools to use are lopping shears. Lopping shears can cut stems up to 1 3/4 inches thick. If trying to decide between bypass pruners and anvil pruners, bypass pruners are often less damaging to the plant. Any stems larger than 2 inches in diameter might call for a fine-toothed saw.