Plants with Decorative Flowers: Abutilon X hybridum, Flowering Maple, Parlour Maple
In the introductory section of this website we promised that it would also include some of the so-called ‘classic’ house plants, even though most require cool conditions in winter. This requirement may, in fact, be met even in modern homes by putting the plants in a cool basement, between the panes of double glazing, in a corridor or in a glass-covered patio or conservatory. Many people prefer sleeping in a cool bedroom and so they limit the amount of heat there or shut it off altogether; such a bedroom may also serve the needs of the cold-loving plants. Often such plants will not flower but will only produce lush growth if they are not provided with cool conditions in winter.
Abutilon x hybridum is a tried and tested plant grown by many generations of flower-lovers. The many beautiful cultivars are descended chiefly from two species: A. darwinii from Brazil and A. striatum from Guatemala. The first has deep reddish-orange bell-like, the other is light red. The colour of hybrids ranges from yellow through many red and salmon hues to dark brownish-red. The shrubs grow to a height of about 1.5 m (5 ft). Particularly lovely are the variegated forms.
Also popular are cultivars of A. megapotamicum from the state of Rio Grande in Brazil. These are also 1 to 1.5 m (3 to 5 ft) high with long, pointed leaves coarsely toothed on the margin. The calyx is inflated, five-edged, dark purple; the corolla pale yellow, not fully opened. The prominent anthers are deep violet.
All type species as well as cultivars require a rather heavy nourishingmixture, best of all a blend of compost, loam, leaf mould and sand. Feed should be applied regularly at least once a month. The plants are readily propagated from seed but are unlikely to come true in the case of cultivars so that it is better to multiply them by cuttings in late winter or early spring.