Pruning an Abutilon

Pacifica, CA

I recently moved into a house with many existing shrubs, and I think this one is an abutilon (flowering maple / chinese lantern).

Is this an abutilon? And how should I prune it? It's looking very scraggly with branches pointing in all directions. I hear they can be cut right back in the spring but I don't want to kill it. I'd like it to look more like a full bush than a sparse tree.

Thumbnail by icheb Thumbnail by icheb
Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Hmmm, Cali. Our confederate roses bloom in Sept, but it appears yours is blooming now. Pruning should be done AFTER blooming during a more dormant season. Spring is a relative term. Plants like Texas lorapetulums suggest pruning after spring blooms when the plant is actively growing well. Same as for your abutilon.

(Zone 9b)

Yes, it is an abutilon. I have grown many not far from you. You can pretty much prune it anytime in your climate. In spring things want to grow so it will recover much faster. The prettiest ones I have seen are trained into a standard with 1 trunk. If you have a good straight trunk, you might consider that.

Hard to kill these. That being said, your leaves should not be curving under as they they seem to be doing. Is it very dry? Are the leaves kind of hard? Difficult to flatten them? I have had such leaves on brugmansia that have broadmites. Though I never got any insect infestations on my abutilons at all so hopefully it just needs water. I think I recall snails did like it for dinner.

I would water it when dry regularly for a couple of weeks if it has been stressed before you prune it severely. It will get nice and bushy if you prune it regularly. I would feed it too. I used to use a foliar feed.

These are very hard to kill. Mine bloomed all winter too. They bloom pretty much year round. Hummingbirds just adore them! They really are a great and easy plant!! Good luck.

Pacifica, CA

Thank you! This one does look like it blooms year round - it's been blooming since we moved in here.

The leaves are difficult to flatten and some look a bit nibbled, but I can't see any critters on the leaves, so I'll give it extra water and see if that helps.

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