Abelia x grandiflora and others
It is sometimes clipped in an attempt to form a dense hedge or ball shapes, but the natural habit of long arching stems on the larger forms don't really lend themselves to this treatment. If space is available, cane-like growth can be managed in a more naturalistic shape than the shearing they are more usually subjected to.
Try to plant the larger forms where you can allow the plant do develop its natural shape. Selectively thin the bush by cutting out old canes near the base from time to time as necessary to maintain vigour and maintain a clean, attractive form.
Abelia x grandiflora
This group originated from a cross between Abelia chinensis with A. uniflora around the turn of the 20th century. Since then a number of selections with coloured foliage or dwarf habit have been introduced into horticulture. Cultivars widely available in Queensland include:
Abelia x grandiflora 'Francis Mason' - yellow and green variegated foliage
Abelia x grandiflora 'Nana' - a dwarf form with green foliage
Abelia x grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope' - A relatively recent introduction which is becoming very popular. It has dwarf habit with colorful variegated foliage that varies through the seasons. It arose as a sport of Abelia 'Little Richard' in the US.
Abelia schumannii, with pink flowers, is sometimes offered for sale in Queensland, but the lack of widespread cultivation suggests it is not well adapted to the subtropics
Where to buy Abelia
A number of Abelia varieties are generally available in Queensland garden centres.