What is Abutilon?
Abutilon (Abutilon x hybridum) also known as Chinese Lanterns is a long flowering evergreen shrub. It is part of the Malvaceae family and is native to China and South America. The hybrids, that are mainly seen in gardens, are derived mainly from South American species. Abutilon has an erect and open habit. The leaves are mild to dark green in colour and range from maple leaf in shape to palmately lobed. Abutilon flowers during Spring into Summer and at times will spot flower until Winter. The lantern shaped flowers is where the plant gets its common name from. The flowers are hibiscus like and come in a wide variety of colours such as white, yellow (both pale and vivid), orange, tangerine, red and various shades of pink. Flower shapes can vary from being quite tight to very flared and open. They require a full sun or partial shade position in the garden where some varieties like more morning sun rather than the hot afternoon sun. They are heat and drought tolerant once established.
Benefits of Growing Abutilon
Abutilon are ideal for a cottage garden, shade garden or planted as part of a border. The dwarf varieties are also excellent container plants and will enjoy cascading over hanging baskets. They will attract birds and butterflies to your garden.
How to Grow Abutilon
Cool to tropical.
Dwarf Varieties Height: 30cm, Width: 30cm
Larger Varieties Height: 1.5-3m, Width: 2m
When To Plant Abutilon
They like rich, well drained soil. Dig through well broken down animal manure or compost before planting.
How To Plant Abutilon
Plant in full sun or partial shade, with the plant crown at soil level.
Abutilon Plant Care
Water well while establishing and during dry periods.
Mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Fertilise using a slow release fertiliser in Spring.
Prune hard in early Spring, to keep compact. If in cold areas wait until after the last frost. Tip prune when actively growing.
Aphids can sometimes be a problem, but generally pest and disease free.