Abutilon, an indoor maple

Abutilons, also called room maples, are very beautiful plants that bloom from spring to fall. Caring for them is easy.

Essential facts about Abutilon

Family – Malvaceae (mallow family)
Type – shrub

Height – 10 feet (3 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – well-drained

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – April to October

Planting Abutilon

The planting phase of an Abutilon shrub is an important part of the life cycle of your plant because it determines settling in, future growth and blooming.

Planting Abutilon in the open

Preferably in spring for outdoor growing, even if this is only possible in rather warm climate zones.

Abutilon shrubs are vulnerable to freezing and to drafty spaces.

  • It is only possible to plant Abutilon outdoors in Mediterranean-like climates, in situations sheltered from wind.
  • They cannot withstand temperatures below 23°F (-5°C).
  • They like well exposed situations, but not if the sun is scorching.
  • They like cool and well drained soil.
  • Follow our advice on planting shrubs.

Planting Abutilon in pots or containers

In our regions, Abutilons are particularly well adapted to growing in pots. If planting in pots, use a “horticultural” soil mix, designed for indoor plants.

Pruning and caring for Abutilon

Potting is perfect for this shrub, but it is necessary to bring it indoors for the winter, in a cool and ventilated place; this will make spring blooming even more beautiful.

  • Its blooming is generous and lasts for a fair part of the season.
  • Water in case of extended dry spell and as soon as the soil is dry for potted plants.
  • Add fertilizer from spring to fall to boost and extend blooming.

To enhance the blooming and growth of your Abutilon, proceed to prune at the end of winter or beginning of spring, but never prune more than ⅓ of the stems.

  • Remove dead wood.
  • Remove fragile or in-growing branches.
  • Clear the inner portion of your Abutilon to let the light reach the center.

Diseases and parasites that attack Abutilon

Many common parasites attack this kind of plant, such as red spider mites or aphids.

All there is to know about Abutilon

View of a single abutilon flower as seen from below with yellow petals.Abutilon are very beautiful shrubs that are native to Chili, in South America. They are plants that bring a touch of exotic colors to any garden.

There are over 120 different species of Abutilon, some of them grass-like, others closer to vines or shrubs. Their flowers are very appealing and their leaves are interesting, too.

Together with hollyhocks, tree mallows or hibiscus, Abutilon are part of the large mallow family.

Among the commonly grown or interesting cultivars are the following varieties:

  • Abutilom megapotamicum, also called Trailing Abutilon – it crawls and even climbs if a lattice is provided. Red-orange flowers and deep green leaves make it a favorite.
  • Abutilon hybrids – they boast a nice shrub-like silhouette and flowers come in a variety of colors from white to red, going through purple, silver pink or even yellow.
  • Abutilon pictum – this variety stands out thanks to its leaves mottled with yellow spots. Flowers come in a range of hues centered around orange tints.
  • Abutilon striatum or Redvein Indian Mallow – these offer abundant orange to red flowers from spring to fall.
  • Abutilon vitifolium – certainly among the tallest of the Abutilon family, they can climb 20 to 23 feet (6 to 7 meters) tall. Its mauve purple bloom matches well with its pastel green leaves.

Smart tip about Abutilon

Mulch based on cocoa hulls is perfect for Abutilon, since keeping their base cool favors their growth.

Large abutilon with variegated leaves and mat red flowers.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Dark abutilon by Bill Gracey under © CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Abutilon bloom from below by Tanakawho under © CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Variegated abutilon shrub by Serres Fortier under © CC BY 2.0