Care for a Flowering Maple

Overview

Flowering maple, known botanically as abutilon and commonly as Indian mallow, is a tender, flowering perennial shrub. It is typically grown as an outdoor specimen plant or as a seasonal ornamental indoor plant. Called flowering maple, abutilon is really more closely related to the hibiscus and this is clear when looking at the structure of its flowers. The leaves do, however, resemble a maple leaf and can be solid, stippled or variegated in color.

Step 1

Select a sun-filled planting or container site with soil that is nutrient-rich and well-drained. Choose a site for in-ground planting that will accommodate your flowering maple at its mature size as they do not like to be disturbed or relocated once established. After planting, mulch around the roots from the trunk out to the drip line of the plant with an organic material. Lay the mulch down in at least a 2-inch blanket using shredded bark, compost, cocoa bean hulls, leaf mold or some combination thereof to keep down weeds, enrich the soil and prevent moisture-loss.

Step 2

Water your flowering maple regularly during its first few years of growth so that the soil surrounding the roots is consistently but lightly moist. Give the plants a deep soaking in the fall before the first hard frost and the ground freezes to prepare them for wind drought. Slowly cut back on watering as the shrub ages so that by the end of its third year, you are watering only in seasons of drought. Water indoor plants to keep the soil just lightly moist. When watering, apply only at the roots instead of overhead, or on the branching to prevent the invitation of disease.

Step 3

Feed your flowering maple with a high-quality, water-soluble, balanced-formula fertilizer. Always apply over wet soil to prevent burn. Feed at least once a year in the spring and repeat feedings according to the manufacturer's label directions. Use a slow-release fertilizer formula if desired to cut down on maintenance requirements.

Step 4

Prune your flowering maple to control its shape and size and to encourage new branch growth. Cut away branches that cross or abrade one another or look damaged. Deadhead fading flowers to encourage fresh blooms. Prune overly leggy plants aggressively in the spring to restructure their branching to give a tidier appearance and more lush growth form.

Things You'll Need

  • Flowering maple plant(s)
  • Water
  • General-purpose fertilizer formula
  • Organic mulch material
  • Secateurs or shears

References

  • USDA Plant Database Profile
  • Michigan State University
  • Univeristy of Florida IFAS
Keywords: flowering maple indian mallow, abutilon flowering tree shrub, care grow maintenance

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.