3 Types of Abutilon flowers - Home Stratosphere

3 Types of Abutilon flowers

We've gathered the different types of Abutilon flowers along with detailed gardening tips. Their decorative blossoms and various colors are a nice addition to both yard and porch.

A cluster of red abutilon flowers.

The dainty Abutilon flower earned odd nicknames including Chinese maple and flowering maple, however, the cheery blooming bush neither stemmed from China nor does it belong to the maple family. It belongs to the hibiscus family. Indigenous to the tropics of South America, this evergreen shrub offers two kinds of blooms: a blossom shaped like a bell or an open, broad flower.

While the plant originated in South America, its beauty caused people to bring it north. It gained popularity in the western states of the United States where you can spot this shrubbery in numerous colors:

  • white,
  • orange,
  • pink,
  • red,
  • yellow.

Some variants of this plant while evergreen does not bloom year around. The variants with yellow and white flowers do bloom continuously though.

Within the genus Abutilon, you will find more than 100 species. This wide range encompasses herbaceous plants and partly woody shrubs. The latter comprise members of the Malvaceae (mallow family). Read on to learn about the many types of abutilon flowers.

Related: Types of Flowers by Color | Types of Flowers by Alphabet

Types of Abutilon Flowers

Three types of these flowering plants exist naturally. You can have an arborist or gardener create a hybrid plant for your garden, but we will only cover the natural varieties of this article.

Flowering Maples or Nabob Flower (Abutilon hybridum)

A closeup of nabob flower.

This variety of abutilon hybridum includes all the varieties known as flowering maples. Also known as the nabob flower, this variety encompasses many of the drooping blossomed flowers. It typically produces three-inch wide blossoms in a maroon color. Winner of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, this its pink-orange variety named “Bartley Schwartz” blooms year around. Another of the sub-varieties in this genus is the “Apollo.”

It features yellow, wide flowers and grows on an upright bush often used as a hedge since it reaches 10 feet in height. The other common variety within this family of flowers is the “Souvenir de Bonn.” Both its leaves and its flowers produce exciting colors. Its leaves show a creamy shade of white on a dark green background, and it features orange blossoms fringed in red.

  • Perennial
  • Sun/shade needed: partial sun or full sun
  • Water needed: average water needs
  • Hardiness USDA zone: zones 8, 9, and 10
  • Height: up to 10 feet

Chinese Lantern (Abutilon Megapotamicum)

A closeup of a Chinese lantern flower.

This variety became known as the Chinese lantern. It grows like a vine and twines through other shrubs if planted with them. You can train it to climb a trellis providing a filler for the trellis’ spaces to create a flowering wall. This can help create a lovely enclosure for a patio or terrace. Abutilon megapotamicum typically blooms in red or yellow. Its “Variegatum” variety features blooms tinged with yellow.

  • Perennial
  • Sun/shade needed: partial sun or full sun
  • Water needed: average water needs
  • Hardiness USDA zone: zones 8 and 9.
  • Height: up to 10 feet

Desert Mallow or Indian Mallow (Abutilon Palmeri)

Desert mallow with yellow flower.

The variant of Abutilon Palmeri, commonly referred to as desert mallow or Indian mallow enjoys sunny heat. Relatively compact, it seldom tops 6 feet. Desert mallow produces a velvety gray leaf with a heart shape. The compact shrub grows a poppy-looking large orange blossom that blooms during the warm season. This six-foot-tall version of abutilon earned the nickname flowering maple.

  • Perennial
  • Sun/shade needed: full sun
  • Water needed: average water needs
  • Hardiness USDA zone: zones 9 and 10.
  • Height: up to six feet

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below the list of flowers do a FAQ for that particular flower.

How do you water abutilon plants?

Water the plants thoroughly so that the ground in which it is planted retains moisture. Check the ground for moisture and water again only when the top inch of soil dries. Typically, this equals once per week but may require more frequent watering in drought or high heat conditions.

Where do the best plants usually originate from?

Their original environment provides the best option. You can obtain plants from South America through arboretums and plant nurseries. These varieties provide the heartiest options and an array of colors of tropical flowers.

Will the abutilon grow in shade?

This type of flower does not grow in shade. You need a partly sunny or sunny growing environment.

Can you grow an abutilon indoors?

Yes! You can cultivate this shrub inside. It requires a sunny area and thorough watering once per week. You should stick with the variety that only grows to six feet in height, otherwise, you would need extremely high ceilings. This plant also grows well in greenhouses.

How do you use the abutilon flower in a landscape?

You can train the megapotamicum variant to climb arbors and trellises. This lets you create a flowering wall or enclose an area with slated trellis and use the abutilon as filler for the slat openings. Grow ivy vines with it because this flower grows well with other plants. Both will climb and intertwine plus the leaf shapes complement each other. Desert mallow can also climb as it grows and works well against the backdrop of a stucco or stone wall.

You can use its bush or shrub varieties as hedges. These grow up to 10 feet in height providing some serious privacy. Higher than nearly any fence you could install, the bushy plants flower all year, so you always have a beautiful, colorful natural fence.

You can also hang the flowering vine variety from a hanging basket. If you love birds, this attracts hummingbirds and adult butterflies. The former eats the nectar of the flower.

What plants in the Abutilon genus can you grow in the north US?

The natural varieties of these plants abhor cold weather. The varieties you see growing in the north consist of hybrids or Abutilon x hybridum. To grow these outdoors year-round, you must live and plant them with hardiness zones 9 or 10. In a colder climate, you can only grow these plants to about three and a half feet.

While they will not provide the fence achievable in the south, you can create a colorful array of shrubs with blossoms in bi-colored, orange, pink, red, salmon, white, and yellow. These plants grow best when you cultivate them in containers outdoors during the spring and summer months, then bring them inside for the cold months.

While the hybrid variety lives indoors, you should reduce its watering schedule to once per week, supplemented by a light misting when the plant appears thirsty. Watch for pests while you grow this plant indoors because spider mites, mealybugs, scales, and whiteflies love to eat abutilon. Prevent these bugs from appearing on the scene by spraying the plant with Neem oil as directed on the bottle.

What plants in the abutilon genus can you grow in the southern US?

You gain many options among cultivars if you live in a warm climate. You could conceivably grow the southern Asia variety, Abutilon theophrasti, or the Hawaiian variety, Abutilon menziesii. Other varieties that do well in specific year-round warm climates in the US include Abutilon fruticosum which grows well in the south-central region of the country and Abutilon Palmeri which thrives in the desert southwest.

Can you grow an abutilon from a cutting?

Yes, you can grow it from a softwood cutting. That refers to a green stem cutting that has not yet hardened but has entered the process.

Can you grow an abutilon from seed?

Most individuals plant abutilon as young plants, but you can grow it from seed. In a pot of moist growing mixture, plant three to four seeds. Barely cover them with soil. Plant when the temperature ranges from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Water until moist. Seedlings should develop within two to three weeks.


Garden Guides: How to Propagate Abutilon

The Spruce: How to Care for Abutilon Plants

Home Guides: Abutilon Varieties

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