Plant This: Nabob abutilon


I opened the Plant Delights catalog recently and was coveting the rich-red ‘Voodoo’ abutilon in its pages, though balking at the shipping cost. A few days later I found ‘Nabob’ abutilon at Vivero Growers right here in Austin and scooped up three of them. Y’all know how much I love red!

Both ‘Voodoo’ and ‘Nabob’, pictured here, are said to be root hardy to 20 degrees F. Abutilon flowers in the cool season in Austin, and I hope ‘Nabob’ will become as dependable as the unnamed pink abutilon I got at Barton Springs Nursery, the ‘Bartley Schwarz’ I got at Plant Delights (low-growing and best suited to a pot so you can see its drooping blossoms), and the variegated ‘Souvenir de Bonn’, all of which have been blooming off and on this winter.

Note: My Plant This posts are written primarily for gardeners in central Texas. The plants I recommend are ones I’ve grown myself and have direct experience with. I wish I could provide more information about how these plants might perform in other parts of the country, but gardening knowledge is local. Consider checking your local online gardening forums to see if a particular plant might work in your region.

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

17 Responses

  1. You’re gathering quite the collection. It’s a beautiful plant; I’m sure it will be as happy as you are that it has found a home in your garden.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I hope so, Diana. I have a lot of shade, and I’ve had good luck with some abutilons but not with others (like ‘Candy Corn’). Just gotta keep experimenting! —Pam

  2. Peter/Outlaw says:

    A beautiful abutilon! It’s been hardy here in mild winters but dies in seasons with harsher conditions (temps in the teens.) Hope you’re happy together for years to come!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      That’s what I’ve experienced with my other abutilons, Peter. I took a risk by planting these new ones at this time of year, but hopefully we’ll be past the risk of teens (which is unusual for us anyway) in a few weeks. —Pam

  3. Alison says:

    I love Abutilons too. I have two that have done well in my greenhouse. That deep red flower is fabulous.

  4. Shirley says:

    Those beautiful red flowers remind me of Camellias which do not grow well in Central Texas. I have several Abutilon plants which do well in pots but none that red.

  5. TexasDeb says:

    I don’t have a lot of red here but you have me reconsidering. Abutilons are so dramatic in bloom, I have a (typical for Austin) Patrick’s that carries a lot of visual weight for me here in a situation where the surrounding plants are decidedly less attention grabbing. Mixed with either of your choices shown here it could be stunning.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Patrick’s is one I haven’t tried yet, but you’re right, it does seem pretty dependable here. Abutilons don’t look like a plant that would survive Austin’s summers, with those big leaves, but I’m glad they do. —Pam

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I think these plants are beautiful. However they don’t bloom well for me. I don’t know what I do that they don’t like but they only bloom during fall and for a short time. Hmmmmmmm

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Bummer, Lisa. I wouldn’t say they are super long-blooming for me either. They bloom sporadically through the cool season, usually with one last burst just before it gets hot. —Pam

  7. Annemarie says:

    I am loving that I just found your blog about gardening in Austin. :o) And I love the photo of this abutilon so much, I am thinking about running out and picking one up from Vivero myself. Are they easy to grow?

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Welcome, Annemarie! They work well for me in the dappled shade of live oaks. To be clear, this particular one, ‘Nabob’, is new in my garden (not much of a trial so far), but I have had good luck with other varieties. They are slightly cold tender, so this isn’t the ideal time to plant them, but if we don’t get any temps in the teens you should be safe, if you don’t mind a bit of a gamble. Keep in mind that deer love abutilon, if that’s an issue for you. —Pam

      • Annemarie says:

        Ooh – then I have just the place for them, with dappled shade, inside a fence to keep out the deer!

        I’ll give them a try. Thanks!

  8. I grew ‘Nabob’ several years ago but it failed to return from one of our harsher winters. The soil in that bed was also a little low on organic material so it tended to dry out easily – not exactly ideal conditions for abutilons. ‘Patrick’s’ and ‘Marilyn’s Choice’ in the same bed have soldiered on despite my abuse, but I’ve been amending that soil and trying to be more attentive. Their flowers are such a wonderful addition to the shade garden.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Vicki. I lost a few during a harsh winter too. They definitely don’t care for temps in the teens for a prolonged period of time. —Pam

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