QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE
1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full to partial sun.
2. USDA Hardiness Zones - In-ground hardy in zones 9 to 10. In zones 1 to 8 move indoors in the fall and treat as a houseplant.
3. Planting Distance - 2 to 3 feet apart in-ground (zones 9 to 10 only). One plant per 12 inch or larger container.
4. Mature Height/Spread - 3 to 4 feet tall with a spread of 2 to 3 feet (depending on container size).
5. Bloom Time - Spring through summer with sporadic blooms throughout fall and winter.
6. Planting Instructions -
For container planting: Fill the container with soil to within 4 inches of the top. Dig a hole in soil to insert the lower part of the root ball. Remove plastic containers and loosen up roots that have encircled the growing pot. Place the plant in the hole and back fill to original soil line. Water well, and if necessary, adjust the plant so that it is upright. Add additional soil to bring the level back up to the original soil line. Never insert the plant lower than the original top of the soil ball.
For in-ground planting in zones 9 to 10: Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the pot in which your plant was grown. Partially backfill the hole with soil and place the plant into the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the ground surrounding the hole. Refill the hole with soil, firming the soil around the plant with your fingers. Check to be sure that the plant is not planted too deeply. If it is, raise the plant carefully and refirm the soil. Water thoroughly.
GET THE MOST ENJOYMENT
The Cottage Farms Rainbow Flowering Maple (Abutilon) is also known as a Chinese bellflower or a Chinese lantern. It is a great plant for the beginning or experienced gardener. This bushy plant with maple-like foliage and bell-shaped flowers makes an excellent patio, porch or garden bedding plant, as well as a terrific houseplant at the end of the season.
The plant can get quite large if planted in the ground (zone 9 to 10). You can maintain a smaller size by pruning and keeping the plant slightly root bound when planted in a container.
Can be grown in the ground only in Zones 9 and warmer. In northern zones plant in a container. Plants will thrive in full sun to light shade. They like a well draining but evenly moist soil. The plant will benefit from being kept outdoors in filtered sun during the summer months, but must be brought indoors before frost.
The plant drops its lower leaves if not properly fed. Temperatures suggested for best growth are 65 degrees to 70 degrees at night and 70 degrees to 75 degrees during the day.
If you ordered one of our container offers that includes our special planting mix there is no soil preparation. Open the bag of soil, pour the contents into the container, and water well. For in-ground planting, although these plants perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office. These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance. See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:
1. Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.
2. To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.
3. After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.
Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground. Do not allow plants in containers to dry out. In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat. You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e., in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang).
Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.
Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with all plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.
Grooming - Prune young plants to spur new growth and get a fuller shape. If your plant starts to become tall and gangly, pruning it back to a leaf joint will encourage it to send out new branches. Abutilon can also be pruned back hard in early spring if necessary to control shape and size.
Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.
Winterizing - Hardy in-ground only in zones 9 to 10. In zones 1 to 8 move your plant indoors before the first frost.
When you bring your plant indoors for the winter, select a room that is bright, preferably one with a southern exposure. Even a bathroom will do if it has a southern exposure. Indoors, plants tend to dry out from lack of humidity; however; this does not mean to water them daily. Bathrooms simply provide natural humidity for the plant's environment.
If you place your plant in any other room, you can boost the humidity level around your plant by filling a shallow tray with gravel and water then placing the pot in the tray. The water level should be slightly below the gravel so that the pot is not submerged in the water. You may also use a spray bottle to mist the plant with water once a week.
All other watering and feeding indoors should be reduced significantly. Do not over water or allow your plants to sit in water. If you follow these simple steps and remove unsightly or dead growth over the winter, your plant will extend its performance of joy from the day you received it.
In the spring when temperatures begin to rise, ease the plant into a full watering schedule and move back outdoors for the summer.
CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.