The Abutilon genus of plants includes several species of annual flowering evergreen shrubs. The leaves resemble those of maple trees, hence abutilons are also known as flowering maples and parlour maples. Some people also refer to them as Indian mallows. Flowers of abutilon bloom in many colours. The plants thrive in warm and cool climates and require moderate watering.
Home gardeners grow X hybridum abutilons indoors and outdoors. The plants are hybrids of other species. The leaves of X hybridum are poisonous and can cause temporary mild skin irritations in humans. The flowers have incurving petals and are bell-shaped. The leaves are medium green. Varieties of X hybridum include Ashford red, boule de neige, cerise queen, dwarf red, moonchimes and nabob. The flowers of the plant bloom in a wide variety of colours, including many hues of white, yellow, red, green and orange.
The X milleri abutilon is commonly known as the trailing abutilon. The shrub can grow up to 9 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It blooms from spring to fall. Its flowers are edible and can be included in salads. The plant has narrow, long leaves. The flowers have a striking appearance, with vibrant bright yellow petals that appear to grow out from large, balloon-shaped, bright red petals. Trailing ablutions can thrive indoors and outdoors.
The Insigne abutilon can grow to 6 feet tall. They have bell-shaped flowers in shades of white or purple. The large incurving petals have dark veins. The plants are native to Venezuela and Colombia. They can withstand cold temperatures as low as 00 degrees Celsius.
Native to southern Chile, vitifolium plants have white or purple flowers surrounded by palmate, fernlike leaves. Varieties of vitifolium include album, Tennant white and Veronica Tennant. Album have white flowers and green leaves. Tennant white also have white flowers but dark green leaves. Veronica Tennant have dark green leaves and large pink flowers.
The fast-growing X suntense plants can grow year-round in warm climates. They are hybrids of vitofolium and other species. Some grow to be over 20 feet tall. Flowers bloom during the spring and throughout the summer. Varieties of X suntense abutilon plants include Gorer's white, Jermyn's and violetta. Jermyn's have lavender and violet flowers with flat-shaped petals. Gorer's white have pure white, bell-shaped flowers. Violetta abutilons have narrow, oval-like, light-to-medium-green leaves. The flowers of violetta are dark blue-violet.
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- University of Vermont Extension: Abutilon
- University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Abutilon
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Abutilon X Hybridum
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Abutilon X hybridum
- Plants for a Future: Abutilon X Suntense
- Horticulture Magazine: Plants We Love: Trailing Abutilon