Thursday, January 2, 2014

Yellow Trumpet Mallow

Abutilon tubulosum

This plant is probably our prettiest local Abutilon, with its typical Abutilon-style velvety leaves, and its distinctive trumpet-shaped flowers.
Unlike many of the Abutilons we see about, both in gardens and in the wild, it is native. It is an endemic Australian plant, found only in Qld and NSW. It is fairly widespread, but never common.
In our area it is found on in black soil areas on rocky basalt outcrops, or where the soil has an admixture of sand. It grows in vine scrubs on red soil, further north, but I have never found it in that situation here. However, it grows well on my red soil, in a very dry situation.
You can see that my plant is not really quite happy in its present situation. It is quite determined to lean over the path, but whether it is stretching away from the sun, or wanting to be over the hot bricks I do not know. I need to trial it in various situations to see if I can work it out. The plant tends to be spindly, and this one has been cut back once, with the aim of making it bushier. More tip-pruning in spring might bush it out still further.

These lovely flowers are (obviously) related to hibiscus. Like hibiscus, they last only a day, but are plentifully produced, so the bush always has a pretty display over a long season.
The plants are not long-lived, and best replaced (from seed soaked overnight) every three years or so.

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