Abutilon (Flowering Maple, Chinese Lantern)
Abutilon hybrida (Variegated Orange Flowering Maple)
Light: Partial Shade
Water: Moist, with Good Drainage
Soil: Rich and Light
The leaves are large and maple-shaped, with beautiful cream-to-yellow varigation. Very fast growing, this plant blooms almost non-stop during the warm months, or even close to year-round if kept indoors near a sunny window with enough light. The flowers are bell-shaped, bright orange with darker orange veins, and are extremely attractive to humming birds. Has a rangey, vine-like growth habit that can easily be trained into an espalier, patio tree, or large shrub. If the branch tips are regularly pinched out, it will maintain a more compact form and also produce more flowers. Is generally root-hardy this far south, but may grow as an annual further north.
Abutilon megapotamicum (Abutilon Variegated Trailing)
Light: Semi-Shade or Filtered Sun
Soil: Acidic, Mostly Sand to Loam
Also called the Variegated Chinese Lanturn, this colorful plant was long used as a Victorian England conservatory plant for both its flowers and foliage. The entire plant has a very exotic appeal to it; the blooms are pendulous, red, and rounded like miniature lanturns, with flared yellow tips, and the leaves are a bright splash of green and gold. Place them in urns, hanging baskets, or mixed containers, where the unusual flowers can be seen the best. They are not as cold-hardy as some Abutilons, so be sure to protect them in the winter.
Abutilon sp. (Abutilon ‘Bella’ Series)
Light: Filtered or Half-Day Sun
Soil: Light, Rich, Mildy Acidic
A very floriferous dwarf variety of Flowering Maple. The blooms are rather large, about 3″ across, and face out rather than down. The well-branched, rounded little plant will be covered from spring to frost with these gorgeous flowers in mostly pastel shades of apricot, coral, pink, red, salmon and white. It is a precocious bloomer and may begin to flower at only 6″ tall. A delightful container plant, they should be brought in for protection during the winter; in this way, they may be enjoyed for many years. In the ground, they behave more like an annual.