Abutilon pictum, also known as the Golden Rain Flowering Maple, is a fast-growing tropical flowering shrub that is prized for its speckled, maple-shaped leaves and showy, coral-orange flowers. This striking shrub is a great accent or border plant for areas that don't experience frost, as it can easily be espaliered against a wall. Abutilon pictum Thompsonii, a variety with golden leaf variegation and peach colored flowers with red veins, is an especially showy container specimen and a beautiful addition to any bright patio or indoor location.
Abutilon pictum is native to South America and is grown in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8-10. It requires a warm climate and full sun exposure to thrive, as well as regular watering. This plant produces red, crimson and vinous flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Varieties with yellow and orange flowers are less common. Mature plants are cold hardy, at least for a short time, to temperatures in the high 20's Fahrenheit. In areas where frost is a problem, it is important to provide some protection for the blooms and for the plant during the coldest periods.
When grown in a pot, Abutilon pictum prefers soil that is well-draining, rich in organic matter and slightly acidic. It requires more frequent watering in the hot months, but it is important not to allow the soil to become soggy. When cared for correctly, this vibrant shrub will provide a spectacular show of beauty. In colder growing regions, be sure to use a container, and choose a large pot with plenty of drainage holes. Provide enough sunshine, water regularly, and fertilize with general-purpose compost in the spring. Not only is Abutilon pictum beautiful, but it also provides a wonderful habitat for larger butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. This can be further enhanced by placing the plants in a sunny, ambient environment, and providing them with a reliable water source and some mealworms, which they seem to love!