While unrelated to the maple tree, abutilon, or the flowering maple, is an upright, evergreen shrub with leaves similar to the maple. The abutilon flowers throughout the year and the plentiful blooms look very much like those of the hibiscus. Many green-thumbs raise abutilon indoors in containers for their year-round beauty. However, these leggy plants do require pruning to control their growth, shape and size. Plus, regular pruning will insure a healthy plant and encourage flower production.
Remove dead or diseased portions of plant regularly throughout the year by cutting off damaged branches with your garden shears .
Deadhead the abutilon regularly when flowering blooms begin to wilt. To deadhead, simply pinch off the shrivelling bloom. They should fall off easily in your hand.
Prune the tips of each branch on young plants to encourage fuller growth and a well-shaped plant. To tip prune, cut several inches off each stem tip with your garden shears. Tip prune in the spring when new growth begins.
Prune in spring to control height as abutilon can grow to 10 feet tall. Cut branches back to the leaf joint to achieve desired height and to encourage new branches to shoot out for a bushier plant.
Cut off branches shooting to the sides with your garden shears if you prefer a tall, treelike abutilon. Allow only one main stem to grow upwards until plant has reached desired height. Tip prune main stem to encourage bushiness at top.
Abutilon is a rooty shrub and often require repotting annually to maintain consistent growth. If leaves begin to fall off or turn yellow, replanting is necessary. Abutilon may be taken outside during summer months, but be sure to return indoors before the first frost.
Abutilon are fast growing. To control the size of your indoor abutilon, choose a smaller size container. Larger pots can drastically increase the size of your abutilon.