How to grow Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum'

Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum' is arguably one of the most attractive of all species and cultivars within the genus. Commonly known as the 'Weeping Chinese Lantern', or 'Flowering Maple', the true species is a native to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay and makes for a popular ornamental plant in subtropical gardens.

How to grow Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum'
Depending on winter temperatures it is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub which under favourable conditions can achieve an approximately height and spread of 1.5-2.5 metres. It has an untidy sprawling habit and so is often grown as a wall shrub in order to better display its its eye-catching mottled,variegation and ornamental blooms.

The tapering, dark-green leaves are narrowly ovate with irregular sized and become covered with irregular shaped golden blotches as they mature. Be aware that the variegation is less pronounced when grown in shade. The chinese lantern-like blooms are orange-yellow with a red base. Each flower has with five petals and is approximately 4 centimetres long.

Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum' will perform best in full sun and planted in a moist, well-drained soil with a pH between neutral and slightly acidic. Feed with a liquid soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks during the growing season.

Despite its subtropical origins, Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum' has proven hardy enough to overwinter outside in the milder regions of southern England and Ireland. However it will benefit from a sheltered position and some winter protection such as a covering of horticultural fleece or bracken. In colder, more northerly climates it will be best grown as an indoor or conservatory plant or kept outside only as summer bedding.

Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum' received the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1988.

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