The Abutilon genus comprises over 200 species from the tropics and subtropics of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia. While not all are deemed worthy enough for a position in the garden, those that do are highly ornamental with architectural foliage and exotic blooms.

Unfortunately if you want to purchase some of the rarer, prized examples such as Abutilon 'Tiger Eye', then you will find that specimens are few and far between. However if you have access to such plants (and have permission from the owner) then why not propagate your own Abutilon plants from cuttings?

Water the parent plant the night before to make sure that any cutting material taken will be as turgid as possible. Then in the morning, (the best time for taking cuttings) and using a sharp, sterilized blade take 3-4 inch cuttings of half-ripe lateral shoots. Make your cut just below a leaf node. The best time for this is between May and August. Unless you are going to strike your cuttings immediately, place your cutting material in a sealed, damp plastic bag to prevent them from wilting.

Prepare a cutting compost of equal parts by volume moss peat and horticultural grade sand, or purchase a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. Remove the foliage from the lower half of the cutting and if the leaves are particularly large they can be cut in half. If you have it, although it is not really needed, dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder. Strike each cutting into a 3 inch pot (use a dibber if you have applied rooting hormone powder), and place in a heated propagator or propagating frame with a root temperature of approximately 15-18 degrees Celsius. Gently water in and provide high levels of humidity until the cuttings begin to root. Ventilate daily to prevent the incidence of fungal infections.

Image credit -
Once rooted the abutilon cuttings can be potted on into larger pots using John Innes 'No.1' compost. Keep in a frost free position until they have established into their pots.

So long as late frosts are not expected hardy species can be hardened off in an outdoor cold frame before being planted out into their final position in May or September. Greenhouse species will need ventilating once temperatures rise above 13 degrees Celsius, and provide shading over the hottest months.

Water freely over the growing season and provide a liquid soluble feed every week or so. Stop feeding and just keep moist for the rest of the year.

For related articles click onto the following links:

No comments: