Plant name: Trailing abutilon, trailing flowering maple, Chinese lanterns
Botanical name: Abutlion megapotanicum
Virtues: It’s a graceful shrub that can be trained against a wall, fence or other support, where it will reach 6 feet tall. It makes a good subject for a hanging basket where it is not hardy and is grown as an annual. Can also be grown as a houseplant. Eye-catching dangling red-and-yellow flowers appear from mid-spring until fall.
Foliage: As “flowering maple,” the common name for the genus Abutilon, implies, the foliage is shaped like maple leaves. The species color is green, but there is a cultivar with gold-splotched foliage, A. m. ‘Variegatum’.
Flowers: Red, somewhat heart-shaped “balloons” dangle from thin stems. Below these protrude a collar of yellow petals.
Habit: Loose shrub that looks best with the support of a wall or fence.
Cultivation: Moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Water freely. USDA Zones 8–10. Elsewhere grow as an annual, container plant or houseplant.
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