Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii' (Variegated Flowering Maple) - An vigorous and upright evergreen and everblooming shrub grows 6 to 10 feet tall or more by nearly as wide, but usually seen a bit smaller. Its dark green maple leaf shaped leaves are mottled with yellow and it produces a profusion of pendant orange-flushed pink bell shaped flowers spring through fall and even sometimes in winter in our mild Santa Barbara climate.
It can tolerate full coastal sun but looks best with full morning, late afternoon sun or planted in bright shade. Give occasional to regular irrigation - not really drought tolerant but can get along with infrequent watering in cooler coastal gardens and tolerates temperatures down to around 20° F, so useful in USDA Zones 8 through 10. Give it some protection from wind as stems are brittle and tip prune to keep bushy and smaller.
Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii' has been long been grown in gardens and is great for brightening up a space with foliage that really glows and flowers that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. This plant originally grew in the São Paulo to Rio Grande do Sul area of Brazil and was first imported into England as a seedling in a shipment of Abutilon from the West Indies. The name Abutilon comes from the Arabic name "aubutilon" that was given to a mallow-like plant and the specific epithet is from the Latin word 'pictus' meaning "decorated", "embellished" or "painted" in reference to the variegated leaves. It was named and first published as Abutilon thompsonii by Harry James Veitch in 1868 in his Catalogue of New and Beautiful Plants. It became a cultivar or varietal name when later included with Abutilon pictum and is usually still seen listed as a cultivar of this species, but also as a variety of Abutilon striatum, which most recently (in 2012) was reclassified to Callianthe striata in the article " Callianthe (Malvaceae): A New Genus of Neotropical Malveae" by Aliya A. Donnell, Harvey E. Ballard Jr. and Philip D. Cantino in the summer issue of Systematic Botany V.37 N3. So not to confuse ourselves and our customers, we have retained the most familiar name.
Information about Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.