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Spring Great Plants this Month

Abutilon vitifolium ‘Veronica Tennant’

Louise Sims

Thanks are due to Laura who gave me this beautiful shrub as a small cutting a few years ago. I was already growing A x suntense which has stunning deep bluey purple flowers, but its season is fleeting, whereas ‘Veronica Tennant’ is in bloom from late spring until well into the summer.

This is a strong growing, upright shrub, much hardier than people might think (quite untouched by the recent -2’ here). The dainty saucer shaped flowers are a good eight centimetres across and bees love them!

Abutilon must have full sun, good drainage and a sheltered spot and given those conditions, they won’t look back. Now this leads neatly on to the subject of pruning and of eventual height.

The general consensus is that Abutilon respond well to hard pruning, which is just as well as I like to keep it within bounds; but I have always pruned after flowering whereas I see I should be doing it in early spring … so take your pick! ‘Veronica Tennant’ is said to reach four metres but mine never has the chance to get beyond head height.

Photograph: Abutilon vitifolium ‘Veronica Tennant’ with Ceanothus ‘Concha’.

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8 replies on “Abutilon vitifolium ‘Veronica Tennant’”

One of my favourites too. There are quite a few of these at Highdown gardens in Worthing.I did have one but lost it in a very cold winter some years ago. Do you have any cuttings still?

Hello Jenny, yes I do have two. They are a couple of feet high and are £6 each. Tomorrow Laura and I are going to be selling plants (this is a bit of a one off for us) at the St Catherine’s Hospice Plant Fair at Cuckfield. I have one already on the stand there, and one at home in Slinfold. We are having an Open Gardens day at Slinfold on Sunday June 4th, so you could come over then if you wanted the Abutilon? Best wishes, Louise

It is in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice Crawley with small percentage to the Hardy Plant Society.

Hi. Just heard from a friend Margaret Hartley that she is going to the fair today so can buy the Abutilon for me. Can you please keep it for her. Jennie

Dear all,
I too lost Veronica Tennant to the cold even though x suntense survived several years. Surprisingly Abutilon Ashford red, I think, has florished in many situations in my garden for many years, as a bush, on a wall 3 or 4 metres high, in pots etc. Strangely the red on each plant varies from dark, to rich to pinkish red though each shade separate to a plant. I strictly label the cuttings now but have puzzled over whether it is the soil or position as I only remember ever buying one. I have 4 large specimens all with flower and buds today despite 5 degrees in my sheltered London garden. The spring onwards brings swathes of flower through to late autumn.They barely rest and have to be ‘managed’ to keep in check. Such a show stopper and much admired at my ngs opening.
Please keep inspiring me!

Hello Carol!
Good to read your comment about ‘Ashford Red’, it sounds beautiful. Also interesting to read about are the variations of flower colour between your plants.
Do you know Abutilon ‘Patrick Synge’ … I am tempted to try one … maybe you know it?
Happy gardening in 2018!

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