Looking for something a little different for your butterfly garden? You’ve just found it! Sweet Emotion abelia is a very special shrub indeed. It’s unlike any other abelia for two reasons: one, it’s extremely hardy, thriving even in chilly USDA zone 4. And second, it blooms in spring with the most amazing jasmine fragrance. The plant was originally collected in Latvia several decades ago, and the plant geeks at Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs worked with it to bring out the bright pink in the flower buds, as well as a slightly smaller, more refined habit than the original.
The abundant flowers serve as a welcome meal for butterflies emerging from dormancy in spring, and swallowtail butterflies are especially attracted to it. It makes a fantastic specimen or hedge plant, in your butterfly garden or anywhere in your landscape.
Plant size: 5-6’ tall and wide
Light: full sun (6+ hrs/day), part sun (4-6 hrs/day)
Hardiness: USDA zone 4-8 (Find your hardiness zone)
Pollinator value: attracts butterflies, especially swallowtails
Notable features: fragrant, deer resistant, hard to find
Pot size: one quart
Plant name: Sweet Emotion® Abelia mosanensis ‘SMNAMDS’ pp#27,370, cbr#5937
I bought Sweet Emotion 3 years ago. It seems to be a slow grower. This is the first year it has bloomed and it is wonderful, although only 18” tall so far. It is in sandy loam of fairly low fertility. However, it has survived well in zone 4 without zone cover and little winter precipitation. In fact, it survived the winter of 2021-2022 in which we had no precipitation and went into the winter dry. It is irrigated until late October but not again until May. Other plants died, including several shrubs. It also survived-30F in the winter of 2020-21. So far I’m happy!
The abelia have not grown. What are your thoughts?