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Abutilons planting and growing


Abutilons, or flowering maples as they are often called, make good house plants and bedding plants. Nearly all house gardeners have at least one plant.

Common abutilons may be grown from seed or from cuttings of young wood. If the former, the seed should be sown in February or March in a temperature of not less than 60 degrees. The seedlings should be potted when about four to six leaves have grown, in a rich sandy soil. Frequent pottings should be made to insure a rapid growth, making plants large enough to flower by fall.

Or the seedlings may be planted out in the border when danger of frost is over, and taken up in the fall before frost; these plants will bloom all winter. About one half of the newer growth should be cut off when they are taken up, as they are very liable to spindle up when grown in the house. When grown from cuttings, young wood should be used, which, after being well rooted, may be treated in the same way as the seedlings.

The varieties with variegated leaves have been improved until the foliage effects are equal to the flowers of some varieties; and these are a great addition to the conservatory or window garden. The staple spotted-leaved type is A. Thompsoni. A compact form, now much used for bedding and other outdoor work, is Savitzii, which is a horticultural variety, not a distinct species.

The old-fashioned green-leaved A. striatum, from which A. Thompsoni has probably sprung, is one of the best. A. megapotamicum or vexillarium is a trailing or drooping red-and-yellow-flowered species that is excellent for baskets, although not now much seen. It propagates readily from seed. There is a form with spotted leaves.

Abutilons are most satisfactory for house plants when they are not much more than a year old. They need no special treatment.