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That Abutilon


Last year we bought an Abutilon Megapotamicum solely on the basis that it sounds like a Dr. Who monster. It has variegated leaves and unusual pretty little flowers but is overall a very spindly and leggy bush. It looks as though it tried being a shrub and a climber at the same time and miserably failed at both. The plant does not appear to have any offensive capabilities either.

Abutilon Megapotamicum Variegatum Flowers

Fast forward to now and the Abutilon is still in its original pot, on the patio (part of the patio pot collection) and still in the queue to go into the ground. It has flowered profusely this summer and is covered in paper-lantern flowers that shine like rubies in the sunlight.

Unfortunately, the colour means looking for bright red lily beetle in the pots of lilies around the abutilon is that much harder. On a separate note I’m not sure what pollinates this plant as I’ve not seen bees on them – perhaps they find the flowers a little too exotic?

It’s not the most eye-catching Dr. Who monster out there, its pretty but unassuming appearance might have you passing over it rather easily. It is also delicate-looking and semi-hardy in nature, so by the time the Dr. Who Christmas Special airs on TV, winter might have finished it off first.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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Emily 21/07/2013 - 2:19 am

Ah Sunil, this strange, lovely little plant could only be something the Ood created. The Dalek don’t understand beauty or the sublime (I too am a Whovian). Maybe it makes flowers simply to amuse itself and relies on you, its steadfast human companion, to protect it. Not every plant needs to be a warrior in the garden (or the house).

Sunil Patel 23/07/2013 - 8:23 pm

Hello Emily, well it seems to be working, it’s still alive and I’m expecting to have to make special provisions for it this winter to protect it from the worst of the cold.

Casa Mariposa 22/07/2013 - 5:24 am

I love your reasoning for buying this plant! I once bought a penstemon whippleanus so I could walk around the garden saying loudly, “I wonder how my whippleanus is doing?” I think your monster plant is a beauty. :o)

Sunil 23/07/2013 - 8:25 pm

Hi Tammy, that’s brilliant, you can also plant Lillium Superbum (super-bum) in the garden to go along with your Whippleanus!

gardeninacity 25/07/2013 - 9:27 pm

This doesn’t quite compare to the above, but we have a plant called Big Leaf Aster that my kids would refer to as the Big Ass Leafter.

Sunil 26/07/2013 - 6:39 pm

Hi Jason, if they giggle about that then they would love it if you planted Lilium Superbum and Penstemon Whippleanus!


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