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Chinese Lanterns, Abutilon


These versatile shrubs with their charming bell-like flowers are commonly called Chinese lanterns, even though all 1000 species are native to South America!

I love mine, as they never stop flowering!  

The location must be perfect: frost-free in winter; morning to midday sunshine all year; shaded by the house from hot afternoon summer sun; good, compost-rich soil, well-mulched to keep roots cool through summer.


Photo - Garden World Images


There has been much good work done hybridising some species resulting in lantern-like flowers in lemon, white, orange, pink, mauve and scarlet. The tall varieties will grow to 2m and the dwarf varieties to just half a metre. I prune them hard in early spring to keep their growth in check, so they don’t become scraggy. Then I feed them with manure pellets. Tip pruning will keep them bushy and promote better flowering.


Text: Sandra Ross

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Author: Sandra Ross