Saturday, February 4, 2012

Abutilon... My First 'Must Have Plant' for Your Home AND Garden

Photograph by Paul Gellatly

Photograph by Paul Gellatly
Abutilon 'Bella'
For quite some time I have been enamored with the Abutilon, also commonly known as a flowering maple.  I currently have 6 different varieties, all of which do particularly well in both my south, and west facing windows.  Given the right conditions these plants will flower frequently throughout the year with quite a display of blooms.  The leaves are light to medium green in colour, and shaped like that of a maple leaf.  The flowers look like a cross between a hibiscus and a single hollyhock flower; flowers are orange, red, yellow, white, pink, and everything in between.  Because of their varied colours they work well with any colour scheme in your home or garden.

Photograph by Kelly Butts
Abutilon 'Savitzii'
Best kept indoors in a south, or west facing window; Plants can be kept outdoors after the risk of frost is over in the spring, and back in before the risk of frost in the fall.  They should be in a sunny location, where they are sheltered from the hot mid-day sun.  You can also opt to enjoy this plant strictly as a houseplant.   When keeping it indoors, it is a good habit to mist the leaves every once in a while to keep up the humidity. (Your plants will thank you)

Depending on variety, this plant can be anywhere from 2 to 10 feet in height... however it responds very well to pruning and shaping.  I have trained mine into standards. (small trees)

Photograph by Paul Gellatly
Abutilon 'Bella'
Water the plant thoroughly, and then let the surface soil dry to the touch, before watering again.  I water mine every 7 to 10 days in the winter, and more frequently in the spring and summer.   Remember that given this plant flowers so prolifically it needs regular fertilizing.  I fertilize half strength every 2 weeks (every other time I water), with a balanced fertilizer.

Only transplant this plant when you have roots growing out the bottom of the pot. When transplanting, move it to a pot only slightly larger than the pot its currently in.  This will ensure you keep your plant healthy and happy.

Photo by Paul Gellatly
Abutilon 'Savitzii'
Photo by Paul Gellatly
Abutilon 'Savitzii'
One variety I particularly like is Abutilon 'Savitzii'.  Grown for its beautiful variegated cream and green leaves.  I've had one in my collection for 3 years.  It may not be quite as easy to find as some of the more common varieties, so if you do happen to run across it, definitely pick it up!

To add some interest to your garden, balcony, or home... an Abutilon is a beautiful choice.

2 comments:

  1. Gorgeous photos, Paul. Well done!!


    Terri

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  2. Just got a couple abutilon ‘Savitzii’ branches from a friend, they are still in a bottle of water. I’m waiting for the roots to come out. We didn't know it is rare. What a wonderful surprise! Thanks for your post, really open my eyes.

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