Decoratively colored leaves and delicate twigs with dense flowers make the flowered maple an eye-catcher. In order for the maple, as the flowering maple is also called, to retain its beauty for a long time, it needs coordinated care.
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The flower mallow needs a location that is bright and sunny. However, the indoor maple must not be exposed to the intense midday sun.
A window seat that gets direct sunlight in the morning and evening is ideal. However, a south-facing window is also possible. Sufficient sun protection should only be used during lunchtime. A curtain or a roller blind is very suitable for this.
In addition to the amount of sunlight, there are of course other factors that play a role in the choice of location. Like the temperature. This should be between 20°C and 25°C. Abrupt and large fluctuations should be avoided, because these, like a sudden change of location, lead to the loss of buds and flowers. The humidity can be a little higher for the plant that comes from the tropics and subtropics. The room maple also thrives in the bathroom and kitchen. The flower mallow, also known as Abutilon, is not only suitable as a houseplant.
The room maple in the bucket
Planted in a bucket, the room maple can stand on the balcony, terrace or outdoors in the garden from spring to autumn.
However, the temperature has to be right. As soon as it falls below 18°C, the Abutilon should be brought indoors.
In addition, the location of the site outdoors is of crucial importance. Because the flowering hollyhock tolerates neither strong and cold rain nor wind. Covered balconies and terraces, house corners and surrounding, dense greenery are ideal. Alternatively, an awning can also be attached to protect against extreme weather conditions.
Again, the location should be chosen well. Subsequent sudden changes of position do not benefit the maple tree.
Choosing the substrate is not a problem for the flowered mallow. Compost-based soil is suitable. High-quality, commercially available potting soil or potting soil is ideal. Alternatively, this can also be mixed with some compost.
The decisive factor here is the quality and cleanliness of the substrate. Those who rely on cheap soil will later be confronted with more care. In the long term, this does not bring any savings.
When it comes to basic care, the flowered mallow is quite undemanding. Regular watering and fertilizing are perfectly sufficient for most of the year.
In addition, the room maple must be repotted and trimmed annually. In winter, an adapted quarters is necessary.
Is the maple poisonous?
Maple leaves can be poisonous. And that even with skin contact. The plants should therefore be kept away from sensitive people, small children and pets. It is also advisable to wear gloves when caring for and especially when trimming.
The frequency and amount of watering depends on the prevailing temperature and humidity. In principle, the root ball should never dry out completely, but neither should water accumulate in the soil.
It is optimal if the upper layer of soil dries out slightly between waterings – the substrate underneath, on the other hand, remains moist.
Advice on correct watering:
- Avoid dryness and waterlogging
- Water at least weekly during growth and flowering
- Gradually reduce watering in autumn
- Use rainwater or stagnant tap water to water the flower
- Pay attention to a moderate water temperature
Fertilizing the flower mallow is necessary regularly, but limited to the growth phase. From about the beginning of April to September, a weekly nutrient supply must be carried out. If flowering starts earlier or lasts until autumn, fertilization can be increased accordingly. For this purpose, commercially available liquid fertilizer for flowering plants can be used, which is mixed with the irrigation water.
It is advisable to slowly reduce the fertilization of the Abutilon in autumn in order to prepare the plant for the approaching winter dormancy. The additional nutrient supply should be stopped completely by the beginning of November at the latest. Otherwise, growth will continue throughout the winter, which in turn will weaken the plant.
Flowering mallows tend to grow scrawny and slender. The result is an unsightly and misshapen shrub that, with a height of up to 3 meters, quickly bursts into every corner of the room. In addition, the uncontrolled growth ensures that only a few nutrients can be put into the flowers.
Regular pruning of the flowering maple is therefore necessary and sensible for optical and practical reasons.
The great blend of the flowered mallow
Flowering mallow should be trimmed all around once a year. To do this, all branches are shortened by about a third. The ideal time for this is the end of the flowering period, i.e. late summer or early autumn.
It is also possible to move the largest cuttings to spring. Finding the optimal moment is much more difficult. Because the flowered mallow should be cut off before the first sprouting. Otherwise, the cut restricts the later flowering.
The purpose of this major intervention is to give the maple a more compact and attractive shape. In addition, the Abutilon grows much denser, which means that the flowers are closer together and appear more impressive.
The little cut
Over the course of the year, flower mallows will repeatedly show isolated branches that are out of line and unpleasantly conspicuous. These can easily be shortened. The earlier the better. In addition, dried, withered parts of plants and those affected by diseases or pests should be removed as soon as possible.
The room maple can be propagated in two ways. On the one hand by seeds, on the other hand by so-called head cuttings.
Propagation by seeds is not difficult at first, but very tedious. Obtaining and growing cuttings, on the other hand, is extremely easy. For this reason, only propagation by cuttings is discussed below.
Propagation by cuttings – instructions
Immediately after the first sprouting in spring or during the flowering period in summer, 10cm to 15cm long shoots are cut off. The still slightly green ends of particularly strong branches promise the greatest success.
If the cuttings you choose already have flowers or buds, you should remove them after cutting. This allows the energy to get into root formation where it is more needed for propagation.
Cultivation soil is suitable as a substrate, which is loosened and enriched with peat dust and gravel or sand. As the name suggests, the cuttings simply have to be planted in the ground. They should sit low enough that they can easily stand up on their own.
In the first month the substrate is kept moist. In addition, you should cover the young plants with a transparent film so that the humidity remains high. Airing the film daily prevents rot from forming.
When the first new leaves appear, the shoots should be treated and cared for in the same way as adult plants.
Preparation for wintering
The room maple is not hardy, so it does not tolerate frost or excessively cold temperatures. However, it should also not be cultivated all year round at moderate room temperatures. Because the dormant phase in winter is important to enable healthy growth, strong defenses and full, lush flowering.
But the Abutilon cannot simply be placed in the basement.
First, it is necessary to gradually reduce watering and fertilizing. With the end of the flowering period, the respective amounts and frequencies should be reduced.
If the substrate is still very wet when brought into the winter quarters, it must first dry a little. To do this, the planter or coaster is removed and the watering is completely suspended. Only when the substrate is superficially dry can the flowered hollyhock be brought to the winter location.
The ideal winter temperature for the maple is between 10°C and 15°C. If the temperature is too cold, the plant suffers. If it is too high, the flower will sprout uncontrollably. For this purpose, the winter quarters should be light and dry. Rooms with windows that are largely unheated but still have a constant temperature are ideal.
Fertilizing is not necessary in the winter quarters, too much nutrients would only lead to deformed growth. However, regular watering is still necessary. But you have to make sure that you only pour carefully. The substrate must not dry out under any circumstances, but it must also not be soaked. Instead of pouring in a flooding way, you should rather moisten.
Pests in winter storage
The dry air and limited watering in winter storage make the maple more susceptible to pests. A regular and thorough check for signs of damage, discoloration and nets is therefore advisable.
In order to reduce the risk of infestation in advance, the flower maple should be sprayed in addition to watering. If pests have already spread, the following tips will help.
The preparation for spring
Beginning in January, the flowered mallow can slowly leave its winter quarters. Since it does not tolerate abrupt changes of location, you should first gradually increase the temperature. At the same time, the frequency and amount of watering should be increased and fertilizing should begin again.
Flowering mallow is allowed outside again from the middle to the end of May. The main thing is that there is no more frost.
Typical diseases and pests
Spiders, spider mites , mealybugs and aphids also occur quite frequently on the flower mallow. Diseases, on the other hand, are rare.
As a first measure, home remedies help, such as a solution of water and dishwashing liquid or simply rinsing off the pests. If these show no effect, pesticides should be used and the affected parts of the plant should also be removed.
There should be as large a distance as possible between individual plants in the winter quarters. If the winter quarters are too narrow, there is a risk of rapid spread and infection between the individual plants.
Due to its rapid growth, annual repotting of the flowered mallow makes sense. Ideally, you should postpone this until spring.
So that the plant puts little energy into the growth of the roots, the chosen new container should only be slightly larger than the old one. The substrate, on the other hand, has to be completely replaced.
It makes sense to rinse off the roots or even deviate the substrate. In this way you do not transfer pathogens or pests and the roots are open to new nutrients. If you have an indoor maple that has been in the planter for some time or has missed repotting, the roots are usually very long and wrap around the main root. In this case, you should carefully trim off the overhangs.
The flowered hollyhock requires some targeted care measures, but the luxuriant growth and full blossoming make up for the effort. And with the right knowledge, the amount of work required is so small that it is not a problem even for beginners.