Abutilon (Flowering Maple) – The typical Abutilon or flowering maple is a vigorous shrub with large Sycamore-like leaves and pendant blooms which are borne on slender stalks between early summer and fall. It is a plant which needs room to spread – a large window which receives some filtered sunlight during the day is ideal.
The leaves are often variegated with white or yellow patches and a couple of varieties (A. striatum thompsonii and A. hybridum savitzii) are regarded as foliage house plants which bear summer flowers as a bonus. Abutilon is not a difficult plant to grow despite its exotic appearance. It needs neither unduly warm conditions nor moist air and it benefits from being stood outdoors in summer.
Meaty bugs and aphids are the only pests which are likely to be a problem and cuttings root quite readily. Prune the shoots back a little in spring and then feed regularly until the fall. With the onset of winter the plant should be cut back to about half its size to ensure a bushy growth habit in the following season.
Secrets of success
Temperature: Average warmth. Keep cool (50°—60°F) in winter.
Light: Choose a well-lit spot – a few hours sunlight each day is beneficial.
Water: Water liberally from spring to late fall. Water sparingly in winter.
Air humidity: Mist leaves occasionally.
Repotting: Repot in spring every year. Make sure that the new pot is not too large – abundant flowering calls for the compost ball to be full of roots.
Propagation: Take stem cuttings or sow seeds in spring for green- leaved varieties – for variegated types take cuttings rather than sowing seeds.
Abutilon megapotamicum ‘Variegata’