Abutilon belongs to the family Malvaceae, it is a shrub, which is grayish green color and hairy. It has heart-shaped leaves and their length is normally 6.9-11.9cm.
Abutilon is a bell shaped flower and the color of the flower ranges from yellow to pink to orange to deep red. The leaves of this flower are palmate like a maple therefore it is also called flowering maple.
The calyx in the flower has a cup-shaped appearance, greenish in color and it’s about 1.5cm long. Petals of this flower are normally shorter than the calyx and their color is not uniform which means that they are reddish on the lower surface and bright green on the upper surface.
It has leaves like maple trees with colorful flowers and the flowers have resemblance to crepe paper. It is commonly called as flowering maple although it has no relation to maple tree.
Abutilon is grown on annual basis but it is also possible to grow them during winters by maintaining the temperature. It is commonly present in tropical and warm temperate regions where it is grown outside however where the weather is extremely cold it is grown in greenhouses.
Abutilon is normally used as ornamental plant in gardens due to their five-petaled blossoms which are white to dark orange in color.
It has such fascinating and beautiful colors that it attracts birds like hummingbirds and other beneficial insects to your garden that will help your garden to bloom.
History of Abutilon
Abutilon is commonly called as Chinese lantern which is quite misleading because they are not completely Asian in origin. There are almost 200 species of this flower and majority of them are originated from South America.
These flowers were commonly grown in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia and also Australia. Other species are also native to Mexico and Southwest America.
The name of this flower Abutilon is derived from Arabic word aubutilon which was given to the flower by a Persian astronomer and physician Avicenna, who is often referred to as the father of the modern medicine.
From some other available text it is said that this flower has Indian origin and it was first reported from India in the year 1826 but the exact history behind this flower is not known.
Characteristics of Abutilon
Abutilon is a genus of Mallow family; it is classified as tender and evergreen which are mostly used as seasonal houseplants in the Midwest. These flowers were very popular during the Victoria era later they lost their importance in the gardening world but then again they came back in gardens in many forms.
In the Malvaceae family, Abutilon is a very large group of flowering plants and it has around 200 species which are present in the tropical and subtropical regions.
The height of these plants ranges from 18 inches to 10 feet and they are shrubs, perennials or small trees. The flowers of Abutilon are oven invisible from the distance because they are hidden inside the leaves but once close you can spot the flowers with beautiful purplish color anther which gives it a fascinating appearance.
Abutilon are generally erect shrubs with arching branches, the branches normally bend downwards due to the weight of the flowers.
Leaves of this flower are normally palmate and they can be heavily lobed and jagged. The flowers are cup-like with a habit of downwards drooping.
Use of Abutilon
Abutilon is a shrub that is most commonly found in Asian countries including India. Apart from being used as ornamental plants in indoor gardens there are some other fabulous uses of this flower.
It has been reported that this flower has some great medicinal uses. Due to the presence of different useful metabolites it can effectively be used as anti-diabetic, blood tonic agent and anti-inflammatory agent. Apart from that, Abutilon is used for the treatment of leprosy, diarrhea, vaginal infections and for ear problems.
In Sidha medicines this plant is very much used for different ailments. Its bark, leaves, stems, flowers as well as seeds are used for medicinal purposes by the Tamils.
The leaves are grinded and the paste is applied to wounds and ulcers.
The flower’s extraction is used for the treatment of flu and cleaning wounds which means that this plant is a multipurpose plant which can be used to treat ailments as well increase the beauty of your garden.
How to Take care of Abutilon
As far as taking care of Abutilon is concerned it falls in two categories
A: when the plant is outdoors i.e. during summers
B: when it is indoors during winters
When Abutilon is outside in summers it should be kept in full or partial sun. When it is grown in northern areas where winters are quite harsh then the best thing is to grow the plants in containers so that it becomes easy to move the plant according to the weather conditions.
The pH of the soil must be neutral but most importantly it has to be well drained. These flowers do too much blooming that is why they need to be feed quite heavily which means that once in a week one must use water soluble fertilizer in order to keep them healthy.
During winters when you grow the plant as an indoor plant, then it will not require a lot of sunlight. Keep the plant in a cool room, don’t water the plant too much during this time instead spray the leaves and flowers once in a while.
If you notice any pest attack then apply Neem oil to cope up with the problem.