Abutilon is also known as flowering maple, Chinese lantern, parlor maple, or Chinese bellflower.
While it is an erect, branching plant with maple-like leaves, Abutilon like Hibiscus belongs to the Malvaceae, also known as the mallow family.
The plants have mallow-like flowers, hence one of its common names, “Indian mallow.”
These plants are mainly native to South America but also in Africa, Asia, and Australia’s tropical and subtropical regions.
Several species are also in the American Southwest and Mexico.
Abutilon plants’ evergreen foliage can be woolly, hairy, or bristly in appearance.
Palmate leaves are veined, whole or lobed, green or variegated, and have wavy or serrated margins.
Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees love the beautiful flowers of Abutilon.
Not surprisingly, the flowers are often used in leis in Hawaii.
Abutilon goes by the following common names:
- Abutilon Flowering Maple
- Chinese lantern
- Indian mallow
- Indian Abutilon
- Room maple
- Parlor maple
- Flowering maple
Quick Facts on Flowering Abutilon
- Family: Malvaceae
- Light: Full sun (mild winters) to partial shade (summer)
- Temperature: 60° degrees Fahrenheit
- Water: Average
- Fertilizer: Water-soluble fertilizer weekly (growing season)
- Propagation: Cuttings or seed
- Common Problems: Root rot, rust, Alternaria, and Cercospora leaf spot
How Big Does Abutilon Flowering Maple Grow?
With nearly 200 species found across the tropics and subtropics, Abutilon can be herbaceous perennials, shrubs, or tiny trees and range from 18″ inches to 10′ feet.
When Do Abutilon Flowering Maple Bloom? Are The Flowers Fragrant?
Flowers are typically yellow or orange, but breeders have broadened flower color options, ranging from white to red, coral, and bicolor.
Although the species blooms profusely in the summer and fall, some new hybrids bloom almost every year.
Abutilon blooms have no scent, but they are lovely to look at all year.
What Are The Lighting Needs And Temperature Requirements?
Abutilon plants enjoy mild temperatures above 60° degrees Fahrenheit day and night.
While a location in direct sunlight is ideal, a place in partial shade is acceptable and may even be desirable in warmer areas.
Northern gardeners may prefer to grow these sub-tropical examples in containers so that they can be brought indoors in the fall and used as houseplants for the winter.
Abutilon does not require direct sunshine when grown as a houseplant in the winter (just a few hours per day).
It should be grown in a cool place in your home.
How And When To Water And Fertilize Abutilon Flowering Maple?
An abutilon flowering maple requires modest watering to keep the soil gently damp yet consistent in the summer. Then, with a yearly feeding of liquid fertilizer, the plant thrives.
Indoors, water these plants until the soil feels damp, then let the soil dry out somewhat between waterings.
It’s best to water at the roots to avoid disease. Indoor plants require a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer twice a month.
What Is The Best Soil For Abutilon And When Should You Transplant?
The shrub requires well-draining soil and a planting area or container to support its development, whether outside or inside.
To avoid weeds and moisture loss in the garden, apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around the shrub from the roots to the drip line.
Any organic material, such as bark or compost, can be used.
Growing Abutilons in rich, loamy soil amended and top-dressed with compost to avoid moisture loss is the key to their happiness.
Regarding transplanting Abutilons, it is necessary to repot them every spring to encourage new growth.
When transplanting, ensure that the new pot is large enough for expected growth.
Do Abutilon Plants Need Special Grooming Or Maintenance?
When pruning a flowering maple, think late winter or early spring.
If you prune a flowering maple before the spring growth begins, you’ll get additional blossoms.
It would help if you sanitized your pruning shears before pruning Abutilon plants.
It’s one of the most crucial Abutilon trimming techniques for preventing disease spread.
The next stage in pruning an Abutilon is to remove any damaged or dead plant parts.
Trimming Abutilon is a matter of personal preference. You prune a flowering maple to achieve the desired look and shape.
However, never remove more than one-third of a stem from a blossoming maple. You can, however, trim bare or old branches if the plant becomes too dense.
How To Propagate A Flowering Maple?
Softwood cuttings (green stems just beginning to harden) collected in late spring will easily propagate Abutilon.
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut 4″ inches below a node from the tip of an abutilon branch (area of the stem where a leaf joins it).
- Make a 45-degree angle cut.
- Place the slice in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel.
- Store it away from direct sunlight.
- Except for 3 or 4 leaves at the top, remove all blossoms and foliage from the cutting.
- Fill the planting pot halfway with perlite and the other half with peat moss.
- Put the cut end in the rooting hormone up to 2 leaf nodes, then stick it into the pot. Bury at least 2 leaf nodes.
- Make a U shape with a piece of wire or a coat hanger, and insert the ends into the dirt at the planting pot’s edges. The wire structure’s top should extend at least 2″ inches above the cutting surface.
- Place a plastic bag on the pot, so it does not contact the wire structure.
- Seal the bag and store it somewhere that gets plenty of light (but not direct sunshine) and stays above 70° degrees Fahrenheit.
Within 4 to 6 weeks, the Abutilon cutting should root.
Indian Abutilon Pests And Diseases
The insect pests that attack the Indian Abutilon are the following:
- False potato beetles
- Cucumber beetles
- Flea beetles
If your plants have these pesky visitors, you may observe that the leaves have holes created by hungry insects.
Again, Neem oil or insecticidal soap sprays should control most pests.
Chinese Lantern plants are susceptible to various bacterial and fungal diseases, and overcrowding can help these diseases spread.
Keep the plants at least 2′ feet apart for proper air circulation.
You might observe leaf yellowing or a withering, failing-to-survive plant. To stop the disease from spreading, cut back any unhealthy foliage.
Is The Indian Abutilon Considered Toxic or Poisonous To People, Kids, Pets?
Some species, variations, and hybrids of Indian Abutilon can cause moderate toxicity when touched or swallowed.
You should grow Abutilon plants in a spot where curious cats, dogs, or children cannot reach them, and you should be aware of the type you’re planting.
Is The Indian Abutilon Considered Invasive?
The Abutilon plant is reported invasive in MI, OR, VA, and WA.
While used for fiber and oil, the plant has escaped cultivation and has become a severe invasive species in orchards, cotton, corn, soybean, and vegetable fields.
Velvetleaf seeds have a dormancy to persist in the soil for up to 50 years.
Although invasive on heavily disturbed land, this non-native plant is not a top invader in many regions.
Suggested Indian Mallow Uses
This lovely shrub looks great as a single specimen or in a grouping.
The nectar attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, while the sculptural dried seedpods provide excellent foraging for songbirds.
It’s a plant that benefits both wildlife and humans.