What Is Abutilon?


A member of the Hibiscus family, Abutilon is also known as Flowering Maple, Chinese Lantern or Chinese Bellflower. Unrelated to maple trees, Abutilon is commonly used as a tropical landscape shrub or houseplant.

Houseplant Size

Grown as a houseplant, Abutilon can be pruned and kept to a height of 2 to 3 feet. Untrimmed and grown in a large pot, it can reach heights of 10 feet.

Landscape Uses

Abutilon is an evergreen, tropical landscaping plant. It can be grown outdoors in zones 9 through 10. Potted plants grown in colder regions must be brought indoors before the first frost.


Outdoors, Abutilon prefers well-drained loam or sandy soil. Indoors, use a standard potting soil. Allow the top 1 to 2 inches of soil dry-out between waterings.


Bell-like flowers are bright red and appear from the middle of spring through early fall.


Indoors, Abutilon needs bright, indirect sunlight. Outdoors, it can be grown in full sun; but in the hottest locations, it may need protection during the peak sun hours of the early afternoon.


Several species of Flowering Maple have mottled leaves. The condition is caused by a mosaic virus but does not affect growth or flowering, and it actually gives the foliage its signature look.


  • UC Davis: Flowering Maple
  • Botany.com: Abutilon
  • UCC Biology Department: Flowering Maple Virus
Keywords: flowering maple, tropical landscaping plant, chinese lanterns

About this Author

Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on VetInfo and various other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hartwick College.