The Flowering Maple was once also popular as a houseplant but now sadly has fallen from favour. Our homes were colder and damper then than most are now and this tender shrub likes it cool definitely not hot and dry. Generally though this is an easy to care for and potentially flowering 365 days a year.
Originally grouped into the Genus Sida the Flowering Maple is not related to Maples and is Malvaceae actually much closer to Hollyhocks and Hibiscus. Many colours are available but the Burgundy-red flowered Nabob is one of the finest of a delightfully mixed group. Re-classified as Abutilon x Milleri until recently this was A. hybridum, several hybrids derived mainly from South American species.
You can grow Abutilons from seed however Nabob is a named cultivar so purchase your first. A small one will be fine as they soon bulk up. And if you want more plants then cuttings and layers are easy to root.
Abutilons are not fussy as to compost, do not need huge containers performing (as with Citrus) well in ‘confinement’, and are fairly resilient to the odd lapse in watering. Sudden temperature changes may cause leaf drop or yellowing though.
Be warned in hot dry conditions they may suffer Red Spider Mites and Aphid attacks are common. But do not fear, Abutilons are robust and soon recover after the pests have been treated. Indeed pests may be thinned at the same time by simple pruning which induces flushes of many more flowers when done in mid-Spring. (It’s also sensible to head back big bushes before over-wintering them when they may then flower all winter if warm and light enough.)
Many other species are still grown though fewer than in the past, including variegated forms (which look attractive to some) and there are even crop varieties for fibre and in Brazil one grown for the tasty flowers used as a vegetable.
Connoisseurs could fill a greenhouse with the over four dozen curious and attractive Abutilons still available but start with Nabob as it’s so gorgeous. (Nabob unfortunately does not relate to ‘Bob’ but is a self made extremely wealthy person!)