Abutilon menziesii Seem.
Ko'oloa'ula, Red Llima
Color: Maroon to pink
Bloom Time: Throughout the year
Abutilon menziesii is a spreading shrub that grows up to 10 feet (3 m) tall. Branches are covered with dense hairs and appear velvety. Leaves are heart-shaped, silvery, and up to 4 inches (10 cm) long. They have toothed edges and up to 2 inches (5 cm) long stalks that allow them to flutter in the wind. Flowers are maroon to pink with a yellow center and yellow staminal column. They hang down like bells from the leaf axils. On cultivated plants, flowering occurs throughout the year except during the hottest months.
USDA hardiness zone 9a to 10b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Abutilon is not an especially difficult plant to grow. However, during warmer, dry winters, they are sometimes affected by spider mites, and they are known for leggy growth. To encourage bushy growth, prune the plant by 25 percent to 40 percent in the late winter, right when new growth is about to start. Also, occasionally pinch off new growth throughout the summer to encourage healthy growth. When pruning, make sure to stagger your cuts and remove some large branches to open the plant's canopy. As a final note, these plants dislike acidic soil, so it is unnecessary to add additional lime to your potting mix. Instead, stick with the basic peat-based potting soil and make sure to refresh it as the mixture decomposes and becomes more acidic over time.
Abutilon is a relatively fast-growing plant, especially when they're young. Consequently, younger plants might need to be repotted twice a year, once at the beginning of the growing season and once in the middle. Older plants, however, benefit from being slightly pot-bound, so they should be repotted either every other year or yearly into only slightly larger pots. Pot-bound plants tend to grow more vigorously and bloom better.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Abutilon.
This species is endemic to Hawaii.
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