Saturday, October 16, 2010

Garden Cousins

So many plants along the Path are just starting to bloom after spending the spring and summer growing tall and leafy.  Two such specimens are the Abutilons which were purchased from the Hillsborough County Jail Horticulture Program for $1.00 a piece last fall. 

Abutilon x hybridum

Flowering Maple is the common name for this plant which has reached a height of about 8 feet.  Last year at this time it was just an 8 inch rooted cutting.  Kept in its pot on the backporch through all the freezing weather of winter, it was planted in the dappled shade as soon as the weather warmed a bit. 

The cute little latern shaped blooms are just beginning to open the entire height of the plant.  They really do look like lanterns when the sun shines through them.

The blooms are quite small compared to the extra-large maple shaped leaves on this plant.  Though not related to a maple tree, there is a certain resemblance.  The resident hummingbird loves these blossoms.

The other Abutilon which was purchased has a very similar bloom.  The leaves, however, do not have the maple leaf shape.  They are more heart shaped and both leaves and stems are hairy in texture. 

Abutilon hulseanum

The common name for this plant is Red Indian Mallow.  It grows well in the boggy area of the back yard.  Large seedpods develop after the flowers which may mean there will be a lot of this Abutilon next year. 

Having grown straight up to a height of 6 feet with little branching, this plant adds large leaved interest to the back fence area.  The spot in which this Red Indian Mallow seems to thrive is a tough environment.  During the rainy season it is a boggy area but other seasons it is quite dry.  This plant has been a trooper through both situations.  The hummingbird hasn't been seen visiting this Abutilon yet, but since this planting is far away from the house, perhaps it's just a matter of missing the right viewing moment. 

It's easy to see the family resemblance between these two Abutilons.  They both sport small, bell shaped flowers and they both like a moist environment.   The $1.00 each cost seems to have been a good investment.


  1. Ooh, I love Chinese lanterns! Such a cool plant. You always find the best plant sales, both in price and variety!

  2. Wow Nana ~ These are both wonderful and a great deal for $1 each. You do have fantastic plants in your gardens.


  3. Kay,
    I'll say the $1.00 cutting was a good investment! That first orange variety is a much sought after Abutilon. My neighbor's son is always telling me about it. Do they get even taller than yours has in one year?

    I like the unique plants you've wisely placed along your path.

  4. I love,love,love that Abutilon! $1 ? Excellent!

  5. Floridagirl - This sale at the Hillsborough County Jail is held about 3 or 4 times a year. You never know what they'll have, but it's always interesting. AND cheap!

    FlowerLady - Thank you for your kind words. I love a bargain.

    Meems - Oh, that's good to know about the first abutilon. I haven't been sure what to expect from either of them. I don't know how tall it will get or how it will do in-ground through the winter. I'm hoping to trim it up a bit through spring and summer to make it branch more.

    ChrisC - Thanks! I love the plant sale at the jail because there is so much variety and so many unfamiliar to me. AND it's cheap!

  6. Hi Kay...I'm happy to see what my abutilon is going to looks like, however, I didn't know they grow that tall. Yikes! I'm going to have to relocate mine. I took some cuttings and they seem to root very easy.

    It's such an adorable little flower and I like the fact that it attracts hummers. Very nice!

  7. The jail program is having another sale this Friday, 8 a.m. to noon at the Falkenburg Road Jail (actually, an empty lot next to the admin building.) I've never been, but I've heard the bargains are wonderful, and I know it's a good cause. The guys in the program are learning skills for employment when they're released. All the proceeds go toward supplies for the program.
    Kay, I'm curious. I always find new and interesting plants on your blog. Do you know what you're looking for and seek them out, or do you buy plants because they're pretty and research them afterward? I'm AMAZED you found something that likes boggy but tolerates dry!


Thank you for travelling down My Garden Path with me. I love hearing from you. Please leave a comment and share what is going on in your gardens.