1. Home

Discuss in my forum

Abutilon - The Flowering or Parlor Maple Will Bloom Almost Non-Stop

By

Abutilon - Flowering or Parlor Maple

Abutilon are profuse bloomers

Photo: © Marie Iannotti (2008) licensed to About.com, Inc.

Overview:

Abutilon is also known as the flowering maple. Although it is no relation to the maple tree, Abutilon does have maple-like palmate leaves. You may also notice a similarity to mallows and hibiscus. These are cousins of Abutilon, and in addition to similar flower shapes, they share the ability to produce dozens of flowers. In fact, a happy Abutilon can flower almost non-stop, in shades from white to pale yellow to deep coral and red.

Latin Name:

Abutilon x hybridum

Common Name(s): Flowering Maple, Parlor Maple, Indian Mallow

Hardiness Zones:

USDA Zones 9 - 11, Often grown as a houseplant and taken outdoors for the summer.

Size:

Varies with variety. In the ground, Abutilons can reach 8' tall and wide. They tend to be smaller, when grown as potted plants.

Exposure:

Bloom Period:

Repeat blooms. Can continually bloom, if given warm temperatures and lots of sun.

Description:

Growth Habit: Abutilon are small, upright shrubs with arching branches that bend under the weight of all the flowers.

Foliage: The leaves are palmate and can be deeply lobed and/or serrated.

Flowers: Most have flowers that start off cup shaped and eventually unfurl to almost flat, with a downward drooping habit. Some hybrids have smaller flowers with more of a trumpet shape. These seem to bloom the longest of the varieties.

Design Tips:

Since Abutilon is often grown in containers, it is usually a specimen plant. However outdoors the rich colors blend especially well with saturated blues and purples, like salvia and clematis.

Because of Abutilon’s arching habit, it’s a nice choice for an entryway arbor. I’ve even seen them trained as espaliers. If you’re growing yours in a pot, you might consider training it as a standard. Many varieties also do well as hanging plants.

Suggested Varieties:

  • Abutilon ‘Kentish Belle’ - A two-toned, bell-shaped flower of apricot-yellow with purple stamens. (Zones 8-10, 8' x 8')
  • Abutilon ‘Canary Bird’ - Rounded growth habit and extremely long flowers, with yellow trumpet-shaped flowers. (Zones 9-10, 10' x 10')
  • A. pictum ‘Thompsonii’ - Attractive mottled yellow leaves offset by salmon colored flowers. (Zones 9-10, 15' x 6')

Growing Tips:

Abutilon aren’t too particular about soil or water. They don’t like prolonged dry periods, but they also don’t want to sit in wet soil.

The soil pH should be in the neutral range, but more importantly, it needs to be well-draining. Re-pot container Abutilon’s every year or two and change the potting soil.

Maintenance:

Feeding: Abutilon can be heavy feeders, probably because they do so much blooming. This is especially true when they are grown in containers. Feeding every other week with a dilute, water soluble fertilizer will keep them blooming.

Pruning: Abutilon takes pruning well. Tip prune young plants, to spur new growth and get a fuller shape. If yours starts to become tall and gangly, snipping it back to a leaf joint will encourage it to send out new branches. Abutilon can also be pruned back hard in the spring, if you want to control its size.

Propagating: Propagate by cuttings. Snip about a 4" tip of a branch while the branch is still green and somewhat tender. Leave 3 leaves, but cut off excess leaves and any flowers or buds.

Problems & Pests:

Insects: The usual houseplant pests will affect Abutilon, including: whiteflies, spider mites, scale and mealybugs. Scout for problems while watering.

Diseases: Diseases affecting Abutilon include: root rot, rust, Alternaria and Cercospora leaf spot. These can be controlled by providing air circulation, keeping the leaves dry and using a fungicide, if necessary. There is also Abutilon mosaic virus, but the leaf discoloration or variegation is usually considered a feature.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.