Flowering Maple or Chinese Lantern. Two very distinct names for a plant that has been a long time favorite in many gardens. There is no relation to the Maple tree which has insignificant flowers, but the leaves closely resemble the shape of the leaves of the Maple tree in the Acer family. The Chinese Lantern plant has bright orange-red husks that cover its fruit and do resemble Chinese paper lanterns.
Abutilons belong to the Mallow family, which is the same family of the Hibiscus and Okra. Although most of the varieties offered for sale are the tropical or subtropical varieties, there are Abutilons that are native to our country but much lesser known. Take for example, the Texas Indian Mallow, Abutilon fructicosum. The flowers are a yellow-orange color and the foliage is food for several species of the skipper butterfly. The Abutilon palmeri is native to the low desert in California and somewhat tender if temperatures dip below 25°F. These abutilons are more difficult to find than the popular Chinese Lanterns.
The varieties we are offering for sale at our plant sale on October 5th 2019 are hardy in Montgomery County.
Abutilon ‘Biltmore Ballgown’ is said to have come from the Biltmore estate in Ashville, NC. It has striped lantern buds that open to an upside-down bell-shaped flower with striking orange colors. The normal height is 4ft with a spread of 2 ft. Great in containers as well. It grows best in bright to filtered shade.
Trailing Abutilon or Abutilon megapotamicum, is a trailing variety that does best in a hanging basket but can also be used as a ground cover. The leaves are narrower than the shrub type abutilons and the flowers are smaller but nevertheless, striking with the yellow petticoat dangling from the red calyx.
Check our website (www.mcmga.com) for more details on the upcoming sale.