++***++ All about Flowering Maples - the dance of the bells is now re-opened and enriches various potplant collections ++***++ Flowering maples are ideal plants for the semishade and are continously flowering until the first frosts happen ++***++ Exotic flowers made of velvet and silk! ++***++

Flowering Maples - Flowers made of velvet and silk

Flowering Maples - tropical pot plants with charm 

Abutilons have been in culture in Europe for a long time. It's more than 100 years ago that Abutilon pictum Thompsonii was introduced and with its yellow spotted foliage it became a cult plant - today a great spectrum of varieties which have been bred over the last decades in Germany and California with their colourful flowers made the hearts of some gardener beat in a higher frequency.  

Apart from the hybrids which are offered in spring in garden centres and special nurseries -  and which are derived from A. pictum, A. megapotamicum and A.darwinii  - some wild species and varieties are available from Chile that can withstand light frosts in milder areas (A. vitifolium and the Suntense-hybrids).


Having a closer view at the genus of Abutilon, which is botanically assigned to the family of Malvaceaes, there are other interesting species in this family which are worth cultivating by amateur growers. Among the closely related plant groups of the Flowering Maples are Hibiscus, Grewia, the Lime trees and the Altheas which can be found more often in the central parts of Europe.

The genus  covers perennials to shrubby growing species, whose original growing areas are found in the Chilean Andes Mountain range to Brazil - also in more the elevated arid areas of Central Mexico to the  Southern parts of US and Hawaii.  The hybrids can however be found world-wide - especially A. theophrastii which has been used for fibre production before cotton and synthetic fibres where introduced in the textile industry. 

According to their origins the care for culture is derived. All species have a common  hatred for excessive humdity and they prefer semi shade to sunny positions (depending on the species itself). Flowering maples are relatively undemanding plants. Watering and fertilizing the plants regularly till the end of august guarantees you a long flowering period (similar to fuchsias). Dropping some of the foliage after a change of the plants location is specific to some of the species and varieties - so don't worry about it. Thus the plants adapt very quick to new situations and growing locations.

Like other plant genus animal parasites like whitefly, aphids, thrips, larvae of butterflies and red spider mite can attack them vigourosly and fungal diseases (like black mould, botrytis, phytophtora or Abutilon-rust) arise frequently in tow-line of unfavourable climatic conditions and /or a previous infestation of aphids or whiteflies. 

Abu_Bigbell  >> Abutilon megapotamicum 'Big Bell'

Flowering Maples flower over long periods during their growing season. During bright hibernation in a conservatory or heated greenhouse with temperatures above 15°C they will flower all the year round. The winter minimum temperature for species derived from Brazil or North America should be over 10°C as otherwise the plant will become more susceptible for fungal diseases like grey mould (bothrytis and phytophtora). Keep your plants drier during winter times and just water when required. 

The wild species from Chile, however, can be cultivated in milder parts of Southern England, Ireland or other milder areas all the year outdoors (US-regions 8-9).

The propagation of Flowering Maples is very easily done - either by sowing or by cuttings. In early spring sown in a box on the window sill, the germinated seedlings usually start flowering within two or three months.

Seedling >> seedlings

Cuttings of Flowering Maples root quite rapidly from spring to late summer, when the ground temperatures are favorable usually around 18°C for this technique. 

Flowering Maples have been enjoyed in the last decade by amateur growers and pot plant collectors in ever increasing popularity. Also wild species like A. grandiflorum, A. pictum, A. ochsenii, A. megapotamicum and A. palmerii are to be found more frequently besides of more than 200 hybrid varieties. In the last few years a rediscovered, filled flowering variety which was bred at the turn of the  the last century - called Victorian Lady -  has gained special attention. It is, however, not the only filled flowering variety as is often stated by Abutilon-insiders.


VLady   Orangeade   Kastanie


Interesting Weblinks:

www.hear.org  (for a few genus of Hawaii)

www.malvaceae.info (for a good overview on the family of  Malvaceae)



www.rareplants.de (for seeds)

www.florachilena.cl (for plant species originating in Chile/South America)


Copyright H.J.  2009