Abutilon Blooming Question

abutilon_bellflowerI wanted to tell you how well my abutilon is growing. It has doubled in size in a little less than four months. I bought the Organic Neptune’s Harvest at the same time and use it according to instructions. I’m very pleased and am ordering a plant for a friend.

I put it outside so a friend could water it while I was on vacation and it has developed black spots on the lower leaves, which I’m treating. Also, the flower buds drop off before blooming. If you have any suggestions for that, or products for that and for the little flies that it now has, please let me know. Thanks.

Answer: Abutilon Hybridum are wonderful plants and make nice house plants. I am not sure what area of the country you are in so not sure if the black spots and bud drop are weather-related or not. They do their best with consistent warmth: 70-degree days and mid-60s at night. The black spotting could be the result of a number of conditions. Different conditions result in similar symptoms, unfortunately, and since you were out of town and changed the plant’s environment by moving it, the cause may remain a mystery. Over-watering or under-watering could be the culprit, so return the plant to an even moisture situation. I would start backing off the fertilization to get it ready for winter and in a month or so it will be time to do some pruning. The bud drop could also just be a reaction to the moving of the plant.

It sounds like the pests are probably white fly. You should see little spots and little white flies on the backside of the leaves. The leaves themselves will have a sort of spotty look. These are tricky to eradicate and take some diligence. You’ll first want to wash the plant with a touch of a mild dish soap, to help get rid of as many of the adults and nymphs as possible. Then spray the plant well, including the underside of the leaves, with our Safer Insecticidal Soap. You will still see some adults and the life cycle on these is about three to four days, so you will have to repeat this procedure, at about the same rate until all the eggs have hatched and all the adults have been killed off. During the winter when the Abutilon is dormant or has a slowed growth rate, they are more susceptible to white fly, so be persistent with your watch.

Hope you get your Abutilon (aka: Flowering Maple or Chinese Bellflower) back in perfect health.  They are really beauties and they make charming house plants.

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