Abutilon (Malvaceae) start at fairly hardy, shading into semi tender to tender shrubs.
Abutilon vitifolium makes a short lived but spectacular ‘tree’, native to Chile, with open outward facing flowers in white or purple-blue, hardy to around -5C. Easy from seed. With less downy leaves a hybrid A x suntense has purple flowers and is said to be hardier.
Usually grown as wall shrubs, with less flashy flowers are the yellow or orange skirted A megapotamicum, A milleri and other hybrids including Kentish Belle and bronzy orange Patrick Synge. Often grown as wall shrubs where the flowers can be shown off to better effect.
I have a soft spot for the more tender varieties. The tender abutilons are unlikely to over winter in most gardens in the UK, normally you see these plants used in summer bedding schemes as they are fast growing from cuttings.
Originally bought as A savitzii but I think what I had was probably Souvenir de Bonn. The leaves outlined in white with orange lantern flowers. Growing to approx 10 – 12 feet in a pot in a sheltered area in semi-shade next to the house.
A pictum Thompsonii with yellow mottled leaves (not as horribly aggressive as A megapotamicum variegatum) and orange flowers has proved more tolerant of my shoddy pot maintenance and overwintered outside for over 10 years in my town garden also making 10 or more feet. Both have now succumbed in the last two hard winters. Both were given a prune in late spring as by the end of winter they got rather tatty leaved and leggy.
Tender abutilons come in a range of colours although the leaves on some are coarser in appearance than others which sometimes detracts from the overall appearance.
Louis Marignac – sugar pink; Violet Buckenham – deep pink; Golden Fleece and Canary Bird – yellow; Nabob – a rich deep red; Boule de Neige – white.
Abutilons are easy to grow from semi-ripe cuttings (not too soft and not too woody!). And appear fairly snail resistant.