Sunday, December 9, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday - Abutilon


Abutilon 'Luteus'

Flowering Maple, Parlor Maple, Chinese Bell Flower, Chinese Lantern - all names for this easy-to-grow member of the Malvaceae family and genus Abutilon. This one opened just today and I love the papery petals with prominent veining. In other colors, such as the red and orange ones I also have, the veins are more noticeable than in this lemony yellow.

In years past, Abutilons were common house plants but they're enjoying a comeback, and are more readily available in garden centers. They don't have high light requirements, but like it best with filtered sunlight. They can grow to be quite large, but kept under control by pruning and keeping it rootbound once it's reached the size you like. I've found that they let you know when they're thirsty by drooping a bit, but they perk up right away with a thorough watering. Let the soil in the pot dry out before watering again. Feed monthly with 20-20-20 and occasionally with a bloom boosting plant food.

You may be familiar with an Abutilon cousin - Abutilon theophrasti. MrBrownThumb blogged about it in July. The farmers around here know it all too well as buttonweed, and I'm familiar with it too, having grown up in this farming community and hearing its name spoken with disdain. This one can be invasive, but it has a pretty flower.

Abutilons are hardy to zone 8.


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7 comments:

Correy said...

Stunning and easy to grow thanks for the heads up.

Genie said...

That's so lovely and delicate-looking!

jodi said...

The only thing about these plants I don/t like--they are aphid magnets, but I just give them a shower when I bring them in for the winter

Kylee said...

That's interesting, Jodi. In the two years that I've had my abutilons, I've never seen an aphid on them! But my roses seem to escape aphids, too, which is also kind of unusual. Now the nasturtiums...

kate said...

I convinced my friend to buy an Abutilon this past spring and it was amazing. It grew like crazy and now stands almost as tall as she.

Muum said...

I've seen these at the nursery, and I like them more and more. I'll have to see about getting one in the spring, thanks for the great info!

No Rain said...

I can't believe I missed you on GTS! Lovely photo--unfamiliar plant. Thanks for the info.
Aiyana

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