Abutilons are one of the flower factories of the plant world. Recent hybridizing work has produced a broader range of colors and flower sizes, as well as plant size. These shrubs originate in the Americas and have been cultivated for a very long time. They are members of the mallow family, some of which you are very familiar with…. hybiscus, rose of sharon, hollyhock, and the common cheeseweed are cousins.

Culture is easy. They like regular watering and feeding to provide the growth which will produce those masses of flowers. Regular care is all that is needed and they just grow and grow and bloom their hearts out. Plants can become leggy(especially if the older cvs.) but you can cut them back hard any time during active growth (when the weather/temperatures warm up). Pruning at this time will facilitate fast new growth which will be vigorous and renew the plant with strong young growth. This will also promote flowering, since they bloom on that new growth. They are a bit on the tender side, so protect from severe frost. In warm years, they can bloom 12 months of the year!

Floral color is in the warm tones of yellows, buff, oranges, reds, ivory whites, pinks, and some are stained in the base of the flower with darker colors while others have deeper colored veining in the petals.

Foliage is maple like(palmate) and varies from small to large. There are variegated forms. The growth habits are smaller bushes to 3-6 ft with arching growth and bells hanging beneath the branches in flat sprays, or more lusty upright growers with more open flowers in the funnel or saucer shape. The plants can grow in full sun if you water generously, but most gardeners grow them in part shade. Too much shade will make leggy plants and give less bloom. (remember, more sun = more flowers)

Regular feeding with complete fertilizer is fine, any type will give growth which will eventually bloom.

Favorite varieties:

Bessie Schulsen flaring bells in orange with pastel petals and deeper veining. upright and compact

Cathy Bells is buff yellow orange with deeper tones in the heart of the flower, bells hang down in profusion on smaller sized plant

Double orange is not named, just sold like that. and it is the only abutilon somewhat available with double flowers

Halo is also buff yellow orange with similar style of growth and size of plant.

Mobile Pink( Pink Supreme) These are two very similar if not identical varieties with bright medium pink funnel shaped blossoms, compact growth.

Moonchimes moonlight yellow flared bells against deep green foliage

Nabob is deep dark maroon and flowers are bell shaped. Big vigorous growth needs pinching/pruning to keep in compact form.

Pink Parasol is deep pink and upright dense growth with larger foliage. Flared funnel shaped blooms

Red Reiter is small flowered with reddish bells. nice diminutive selection

Savitzii is small growing and highly white variegated, flowers orange and not profuse generally, grown for foliage effects.

Souvenir de Bonn is large growing with big leaves strikingly edged in silvery white. flowers are of little consequence since they are often 8 ft+ high, another for foliage interest and needs pruning.

Tangelo is bright vivid orange with hanging bells on compact lower plant. wonderful! even if you hate orange, you’ll probably like this!

Temple Bell is an old timer, hard to find, but worth searching out! Here you find vivid orange bells dramatically veined deeper orange. A bigger grower, but well covered with foliage and always in bloom. the hummingbirds just love it!

Tom Trillium is yellow with pointed petals to the bell shaped flowers. Smaller grower and profuse blooming.

Victor Reiter is outstanding. brilliant orange funnels are dramatic and suggest some kind of tropical drink! plant is larger with lush big leaves and flower display is heavenly

There are others, some less dramatic in bloom, but all nice, and the new hybridizing effort will be even better, stay tuned!