Greenhouse shrubs with drooping, bell-shaped flowers, ranging in color from pure white to crimson and purple, mostly erect in growth. A few of the species will endure a few degrees of frost, but they are best treated as cool greenhouse plants during our winters. The hybrids now both in beauty of leaf and flower far surpass the true species. They are largely used in subtropical flower gardening, growing very freely in our warm summers and are fine ornamental plants for the conservatory, and can either be grown as specimen plants in pots or trained to pillars or rafters. As a commercial plant, except for flower gardening, they are not of great value, being strong growers and occupying too much room for their value.
They propagate easily any time during winter or early spring by cuttings from young tender growths.
A. Savitzii is the most useful of all the varieties to the florist. Perfect in variegation and neat and compact in growth it is particularly valuable for edging to subtropical beds. Lift and pot some plants before frost and propagate during winter. Put cuttings in early as a good sized plant is desirable for bedding.
A. vexillarium is a drooping species and used largely in hanging baskets, veranda boxes and carpet bedding. For a drooping plant for a vase they should be propagated in September from the young shoots of plants growing outside. By spring these should be in 3-inch pots and are most useful for the purpose described.
Abutilons are troubled with few enemies. The hose will keep down mealy bug, and aphis seldom appears. Any soil that water passes freely through will grow abutilons, but much manure should be avoided, as most of the kinds are very free growers. The following varieties are fine decorative plants: Souvenir de Bonn, variegated foliage, orange flowers; Bosaeflora, deep coppery rose; Snowstorm, large white; Splendens, deep red; Pink Perfection, fine bright pink.