These tender shrubs with large ornamental maple shaped leaves and bell-shaped blooms are natives of Brazil, India and tropical Asia. Like Hollyhocks and Lavateras, they belong to the Malvacae family. The hardiest species are grown in gardens throughout the warmer temperate areas of the world, but most varieties cannot take frost and must be used as annuals in the summer garden or grown as greenhouse specimens in most of the northern hemisphere. They make a pretty display in the summer and are good plants to use for borders or garden backdrops.
The plants thrive in a moist, rich soil in containers or gardens and they appreciate a bi-weekly application of fertilizer. They prefer full sun, but can do very well in semi-shade. Side shoots should be cut back in spring to within two or three buds of the base of last summers growth and old weak branches are trimmed away.
Plants are easily propagated either by seeds or by cuttings taken nearly any time of year. For cuttings, side shoots with a heel are cut from stems or half ripe wood and are inserted into sand where they are kept moist and misted frequently. Cuttings will root in three or four weeks and should then be potted. Seeds can be sown in a fine sterile potting mix and are kept moist at 55F. Seedlings should be re-potted or planted outdoors when they reach about 2-3 inches in height and outdoors when the nighttime temperature have ceased to drop below 55F.
Several Abutilons are used for producing fiber, including Abutilon theophrastii, also referred to as Chinese Hemp.
The blooms are edible and are used in salads, becoming sweeter as they age.Giant Mix -Abutilon x hybridium - Annual; A favorite Victorian plant for pots and borders. Bell-shaped flowers in shades of pink, purple, apricot and raspberry cover foliage resembling the leaves of a maple tree. Makes an excellent house plant, also. Full sun; plant height: 4ft.
|#372 Packet, $3.50 each Approximately 15 seeds|
Maximus - Abutilon x hybridum - Annual; Large bell-shaped blooms
in shades of orange, red and yellow with darker veins. Leaves are
often variegated. Pretty potted or border plant.
|#1360 Packet $3.50 each, Approximately 25 seeds|
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