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