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05 Jul 2018

Abutilon (Malvaceae)

The name comes from the Arabic abutilun, a species of mallow. Semi-rustic shrubs to be cultivated in greenhouses, in cold-climate countries or, except for the most delicate, outdoors where the climate is mild. The flowering of some species is summer and autumnal, of others it lasts practically all the year. The flowers, variously colored, are mostly pendulous, with 5 petals and a more or less long goblet; the leaves of various shapes, often lobed, in some species are variegated.

A variety of Abutilon with beautiful red bell flowers
A variety of Abutilon with beautiful red bell flowers

Cultivated species: most of the cultivated plants are hybrids, derived mainly from A. darwinii (orange veined red flowers), A. striatum and A. venosum. Remarkable is the thompsonii variety of A. striatum, with orange-salmon flowers and yellow marbled leaves and A. «Savitzii», low and with very variegated white leaves in an irregular way, suitable for growing in pots. A. megapotamicum, which comes from Brazil, is an evergreen that can grow up to 2.50 m in the open ground; from its arched branches hang the flowers from the long red goblet, the yellow petals and the brown anthers; the variegated shape is more delicate and, grown in pot, reaches only 50 cm in height. Abutilon vitifolium has blue flowers, reaches 3-7 m in height and there is a var. album with pure white flowers.

Cultivation Abutilon:

the A. would require a minimum temperature of 7-10 ° C, but if repaired, they can withstand even lower temperatures. The soil must be rich but made well permeable with the addition of sand. For the cultivation of the pot it is advisable to use sandy soil and earth of leaves. They reproduce by seed in spring, or multiply by cuttings; this is advisable when you want to keep a certain variety, and it becomes absolutely necessary when it comes to variegated varieties. The cuttings, taken in first-vera, will easily root in a box with sandy soil, or in a humid environment at a temperature of 18 ° C.

29 Apr 2018

Althaea (Malvaceae)

The name derives from the Greek althala, used by Theophrastus in his “History of plants” for the wild mallow, deriving from the verb which means “to heal”, due to the pharmaceutical qualities of the plant. It is a genus comprising annual, biennial and perennial plants, herbaceous rather rough or tomentose, with axillary flowers, stem height ranging from m 1,50 to m 3, depending on the species. They are all rustic.

Althaea rosea, better known as a villain, can reach m 2-3 in height. There are varieties and cultivars with pink, red, yellow or white flowers, simple or double.
Althaea rosea, better known as a villain, can reach m 2-3 in height. There are varieties and cultivars with pink, red, yellow or white flowers, simple or double.

Perennial species:

A. cannabina, from Eastern Europe, with typed leaves and pink or red flowers in some varieties; Althaea officinalis, altea, typical of moist or semi-wild Eurasia, with pink flowers, used in pharmacies especially for the roots; the leaves and flowers that contain mucilage are often used as a folk remedy in the form of an infusion, emollient and expectorant. Biennial cultivated species: Althaea rosea, malvone, is, strictly speaking, a perennial plant, but it is used as a biennial because the young plants are more vigorous and floriferous. It is a plant erect with lobed leaves, which shrink towards the top of the stem, making the axillary flowers appear, large and showy like a flowering spike; in the most favored climates, it can reach m 2-3. There are varieties and cultivars with pink, red, yellow or white flowers, simple and double; we find nomenclaced cultivars, but mostly the seeds are sold in the mixture, or for separate colors or for double flowers only.

Cultivation of Althaea:

they need rich and heavy soil, as long as permeable, sunny position, frequent waterings during the driest periods. Reproduction is for summer sowing, the planting should take place in autumn, preferably with clods, except where strong frosts are feared; in this case, it is better to report and keep indoors until ready to place, as soon as time permits. The plants will flower in the summer after sowing; the older ones will produce spring shoots that can be cut and used to make cuttings, especially if you want to multiply exactly a given variety.


Also read: Alternanthera (Amaranthaceae)