Flowering Maple - Parlor Maple
The flowering maple plant, Abutilon hybridum, is not related to the maple tree. It is a mallow like the Hibiscus which it closely resembles. The common name parlor maple is derived from the maple-leaf shape of its foliage.
Abutilon hybridum 'Firefly'.
In times past, this free-blooming, evergreen shrub was known as the parlor maple because the Victorians loved to display them in their homes.
Most cultivars feature solid green leaves, but a few have leaves that are mottled or variegated. They grow at the end of long petioles and are covered with soft hairs.
The pendant bell-shaped blooms range from 2-3 inches in diameter. They appear in a multiplicity of colors throughout the growing season.
The orange bloom of Abutilon hybridum 'Karl Rickter'.
The parlor maple blooms on new growth.
Trim it throughout the season to encourage symmetry and better branching.
This will result in more new wood and heavier flowering.
If you get this right, your plant will produce dozens of flowers at a time. The weight of the blooms will cause the branches to arch gracefully.
Sow Abutilon seeds in the spring to raise new plants. Cuttings of half-ripe wood also root readily in the summer.
Plants will grow rapidly and need to be shifted into larger pots as they develop.
Once you've planted it in the biggest pot you want to move, stop shifting it up.
Allow it to become root bound in this pot. You will need to provide extra food and water in order for the plant to thrive while restricted. Give it a liquid houseplant food every two weeks.
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Flowering maple is a sub-tropical shrub which can be grown outdoors during the summer months in the temperate zone. Like geraniums and fuschias, it can be cut back and overwintered indoors. This rapid grower can reach 8 feet in height when grown in the ground.
I have seen specimens nearly this tall growing in large pots. Such a plant is stunning in an area with enough light and space to show it off to its best advantage.
Some cultivars have lax stems. This fault can be overcome by training them against a wall or staking them.
Prune plants each spring by heading back every side shoot by two thirds. Leave the older main stems alone unless one develops and obvious problem. This will rejuvenate the plant and encourage much new growth on which blooms can form.
The parlor maple likes abundant light when grown indoors. Outside, full sun may be too intense so site it in part shade.
It wants to be kept constantly moist in either situation. The temperature and humidity levels of the average home suit it just fine, making this a choice houseplant.
Rose of Sharon Bush, the Cold Hardy Hibiscus
Hibiscus mutabilis, the Confederate Rose
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