Thursday, January 13, 2011

Abutilon 'la vie en rose'...what would Edith say?

I'm overwhelmed by the number and variety of taxa of Abutilon. It's a huge genus with cultivars out the wazoo. Because the name begins with "ab", every time you read a catalog or a plant list there it is right at the beginning! In spite of liking the plant, I tend to roll determinedly by? I have one plant myself, Abutilon 'Voodoo' which is an outrageously rich deep red. It's trained as a standard and lives outside all summer. Most of the cultivars are designated as forms of Abutilon x hybridum. I like the softer pastel colors in summer containers where they bloom dependably supplying, by virtue of the size and color of their flowers, a pleasant element in mixed plantings. There are peaches, corals, soft yellows, and pinks that mix congenially with lots of other flowers. I feel bad not keeping them over the winter though

In spite of the recent explosion of cultivars, I think of Abutilon as an old-fashioned plant. The common name, "parlor maple" sounds old-fashioned and the plants were popular over a century ago when houses weren't so warm in the winter as they are now. They don't quite want to freeze but are happy in the near approach. This selection in addition to it's lovely veined flowers has cheerfully white and green variegated leaves.


MulchMaid said...

You have an abutilon in Maryland year-round? Wow. Or maybe it's in your Florida garden, hmm?

I planted one for the first time this summer (in Portland, OR) knowing it wouldn't winter over. It got a late start and we had a cool summer: I got one blossom!

MulchMaid said...

Oops, never mind: I see you don't winter them over, now that I re-read your post. Dang skimming technique!

ChrisU said...

I've been tempted to take 'Voodoo' to Florida but I would lose it to drought so I just move it in and out every year.