Abutilon megapotamicum

Among the most graceful of climbers, abutilons are not fully hardy in cold districts, but usually prosper in the shelter of a town garden. One of the smaller species, suitable for a terrace or balcony, is the Brazilian A. megapotamicum, with extraordinary nodding flowers like a Russian ballerina’s costume – the red calyx is her bodice, the yellow bell-shaped corolla her skirt. They appear throughout the summer. Growing to at most 5 feet (1.5 m), this is a lovely plant ior a pot in a warm position, and could be moved into shelter for the winter.

The more commonly grown A. vitifo-lium, from Chile, is hardier and taller, a soft-wooded shrub climbing to 12 feet (3.6 m), with mauve or white mallow flowers blooming over a long period and vine-shaped leaves. It needs the support of trellis on a wall, preferably in a position that gets full sun.

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