Ashford Red’, Canary Bird’, Orange King’ and deepest maroon red Nabob’ are a few of the highly collectable abutilon cultivars that are becoming available from specialist nurseries and good garden centres. (The RHS Plant Finder is an invaluable guide to suppliers.) A. megapotamicum Variegatum’ and A. pictum Savitzii’ generally get noticed for their large and colourfully mottled leaves rather than for the comparatively shy flowers, and so add an extra dimension to the tropical mix. DINING TABLE FOR 2 PERSONS While A. megapotamicum is less hardy, plants can usually be treated as year-round shrubs in the warmer microclimate of protected city gardens. Elsewhere, they can be grown in pots and removed to a frost-free position over the winter months. In fact, growing these more tender kinds of abutilon in pots is a good strategy, because it prevents them becoming straggly and also provides an opportunity for some exciting group planting, with tender perennials, for example, and other exotica.
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