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Abutilon (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Abutilon (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Zone
Zones 8, 9, 12-24, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Abutilon

Flowering Maple, Chinese Bellflower
Malvaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs

Native to warm regions around the world, especially South America. Grows anywhere as an annual. Planted primarily for its showy flowers. Good drainage is essential. Control whitefly and scale insects. In cold-winter climates, can be grown as potted plants; keep indoors in winter, put out on terrace or patio in summer.

Abutilon hybrid ‘Fairy Coral Red’ (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)
Abutilon hybrid ‘Fairy Coral Red’ (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)

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Abutilon hybrids

Grown as a shrub in zones 8, 9, 12–27, H1, and H2, and anywhere as an annual. The best-known flowering maples are in this group. Upright, arching growth to 8–10 ft. tall and wide. Broad maplelike leaves. Drooping bell-like flowers in white, yellow, pink, or red. Main bloom season is spring, but white and yellow forms flower almost continually. Many hybrids are available, including dwarf varieties and ones with more spreading habits.

Abutilon megapotamicum

Vine-shrub from Brazil. Vigorous growth to 10 ft. tall and wide. Bears arrowlike, 1 1/2–3-in.-long leaves. Flowers resembling red-and-yellow lanterns decorate rangy branches in spring and summer. Pinch branch tips to control size, make bushier. More graceful in detail than in entirety but can be trained to an interesting pattern. Usually best as loose, informal espalier. Good hanging basket plant.

Abutilon palmeri

A sprawling evergreen shrub from the low deserts of western North America, it grows 3–5 ft. tall and wide. Clustered spring flowers are orange-yellow. Attractive gray-green leaves are soft, velvety, heart-shaped to roundish, 6 in. wide and 8 in. long. Needs little water.

Abutilon pictum ‘Thompsonii’ (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Abutilon pictum ‘Thompsonii’ (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Abutilon pictum ‘Thompsonii’

Similar in form to hybrids, but the foliage is strikingly variegated with creamy yellow. The plant blooms almost continually, bearing pale orange bells veined with red.

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