Despite the common name these plants do not have any kind of relationship with the Maples, the abutilons, close relatives of the mallow, are medium-sized shrubs, with evergreen leaves, originating in the tropical areas of the globe; in the nursery we generally find hybrid varieties, together with the megapotamicum species, the common name maple flower derives from the fact that these shrubs produce leaves very similar to those of a maple, in shape, colors and dimensions.
In addition to the decorative foliage, the abutilon hybridum from May until the cold autumns produce numerous flowers, bell-shaped, large and intensely colored. In hybrid species the flowers are bell-shaped, very large, similar to flowers of a hibiscus, in shades of red, yellow, pink, white; abutilon megapotamicum produces flowers of smaller dimensions, with bright red calyx and golden yellow petals, to form a small lantern, the leaf is oval in shape.
Cultivated in open ground, the abutilons can reach two meters in height with good speed, in pots they generally do not exceed one and a half meters.
Grow them in the garden
In the areas of origin, the botanical species of abutilon hybridum enjoy a mild climate all year round; if we choose to cultivate a botanical species we prefer to place it in a pot, so that it can be placed in a sheltered place during the winter, to prevent intense frosts from ruining it.
In the nursery, however, we can find many hybrid varieties, some of which are well suited to live even in the temperate zones of our country, especially if planted in the spring, so that they receive the cold gradually over the months, and are well rooted in the arrival of autumn.
Some species, such as Abutilon vitifolium, and hybrids, withstand winter temperatures close to -10 ° C, can therefore find a place in the garden.
We prefer a place that is not excessively sunny, with the refreshment of the shade in the hottest moments of the day, but still very bright; the soil must be fresh, deep, rich and very well drained, we add slow release granular fertilizer before planting the plant, it will guarantee the right mineral salt content for months.