Trailing Abutilon Abutilon megapotamicum

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
trailing abutilon


Abutilon megapotamicum, commonly known as the Trailing Abutilon, is an ornamental plant cherished for its unique and attractive appearance. The plant features arching stems that gracefully weep downwards. Its leaves are green with a slight heart-shaped base and pointed tips, exhibiting a somewhat serrated edge that gives a delicate texture to the foliage. The Trailing Abutilon is particularly celebrated for its flowers, which dangle like colorful lanterns from the stems. Each bloom has a striking bell shape, comprising a vibrant yellow-orange petal cup with a bold, contrasting red calyx at the top that peeks out and creates an eye-catching color combination. The drooping flowers hang from the branches, providing a whimsical and exotic look to the plant. These blossoms usually attract pollinators like bees and hummingbirds, adding to the lively display in a garden setting. With a long flowering season, the Trailing Abutilon continuously adds color and interest throughout the year. The overall effect of the plant's draping growth habit, heart-shaped foliage, and vivid, lantern-like flowers make it a favorite among gardeners looking to add a touch of tropical flair to their outdoor spaces or to brighten up patios and balconies when grown in containers. Its appearance is reminiscent of both a classic shrub and a vine, contributing to its versatility in landscape design.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Trailing Abutilon, Flowering Maple, Brazilian Bell-flower, Lantern Flower, Chinese Lantern.

    • Common names

      Abutilon vexillarium, Sida megapotamica, Abutilon hunterianum, Abutilon vitifolium, Abutilon megapotamicum var. elegantissimum, Abutilon inaequilaterum, Abutilon boucheanum, Abutilon striatum.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Trailing abutilon (Abutilon megapotamicum) is not known to be toxic to humans. There are no significant reports or studies that indicate poisoning or toxic reactions following ingestion of parts of this particular species. Therefore, it generally does not pose any serious health risks if accidentally ingested. However, it's always prudent to avoid eating parts of ornamental plants due to potential individual allergies or unexpected reactions.

    • To pets

      Trailing abutilon is not recognized as a toxic plant to pets. It is not listed among plants that are commonly known to cause adverse reactions in animals such as dogs and cats. While no major incidents of poisoning are associated with this plant, as with humans, it's advisable to prevent pets from consuming plant material that is not meant as food, since individual animals might have sensitivities or allergies.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6 feet (1.8 meters)

    • Spread

      3 feet (0.9 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      South America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attractive Flowers: Abutilon megapotamicum, commonly known as Trailing Abutilon, produces colorful and unusual bell-shaped flowers that add aesthetic value to any garden.
    • Wildlife Attraction: The plant's nectar-rich flowers attract pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, supporting local ecosystems.
    • Fast Growing: Trailing Abutilon is known for its rapid growth, which makes it an excellent choice for quickly covering trellises, arbors, or fences.
    • Easy Propagation: It can be easily propagated through cuttings, which allows gardeners to create more plants for their gardens or to share with others.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it has a degree of drought tolerance, making it suitable for xeriscaping or gardens with less water availability.
    • Shade Tolerance: It can tolerate partial shade, providing flexibility in garden placement and making it suitable for planting under taller shrubs or trees.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Trailing Abutilon, due to its vining habit, is often used as a colorful plant for hanging baskets, brightening up patios and indoor spaces.
    • In mild climates, it can be trained as an espalier against a warm, sunny wall, creating an ornamental and artistic garden feature.
    • The plant's nectar-rich flowers attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, making it a beneficial addition to any garden seeking to promote local wildlife.
    • As an ornamental plant, the Trailing Abutilon is sometimes used in bonsai due to its attractive foliage and interesting flower shape.
    • The bell-shaped flowers and colorful calyxes are occasionally used in floral arrangements to add exotic flair or as an unexpected garnish in haute cuisine.
    • Many gardeners use the Trailing Abutilon as a “spiller” plant in container gardens to create a sense of fullness and cascade over the sides.
    • The plant can be utilized as a fast-growing annual in colder regions to provide quick and seasonal cover for trellises or garden arches.
    • Due to its trailing nature, Abutilon megapotamicum can provide quick ground cover in garden areas that are difficult to access or maintain.
    • Landscapers may use the plant to add a splash of color in theme gardens, such as a Victorian or tropical-inspired garden setting.
    • In educational settings, the Trailing Abutilon can be used to teach students about plant growth habits and pollinator attraction strategies.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Trailing Abutilon is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Trailing Abutilon is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Adaptability - The flowering maple's (the common name for Abutilon megapotamicum) natural ability to thrive in various climate conditions signifies the ability to adapt to different life situations.
    • Beauty and Grace - This plant's delicate bell-shaped flowers and graceful drooping stems symbolize natural beauty and an elegant bearing.
    • Protection and Shelter - With its maple-like leaves, the flowering maple represents providing shelter or protection to someone, resembling the protective shape of an umbrella.
    • Warmth and Comfort - The vibrant warm colors of the flowering maple's blossoms signify feelings of warmth and comfort.
    • Survival - Since flowering maples can cope with various light levels, they symbolize the trait of survival through adjusting to life's challenges.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Trailing Abutilon should be watered regularly, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Typically, this plant needs to be watered once a week, but this may increase to twice per week in the heat of summer or decrease during the cooler winter months. When watering, provide enough water to dampen the soil thoroughly, which might be about 1-2 gallons for a medium-sized pot. Avoid overhead watering to prevent leaf diseases, and instead, water directly onto the soil to ensure deep root hydration.

  • sunLight

    Trailing Abutilon thrives in bright, indirect sunlight, making an east- or west-facing window an ideal spot. It can tolerate some direct sun, particularly in the morning, but too much direct afternoon sunlight can scorch the leaves. In regions with very strong sunlight, a location with dappled shade or a sheer curtain to diffuse the light is recommended.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Trailing Abutilon prefers warm temperatures and performs best when the temperature is consistently between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive minimum temperatures of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but it should never be exposed to temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, as this can cause damage or plant death. The ideal conditions are a consistently warm environment with protection from drafts and extreme temperature fluctuations.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Trailing Abutilon is important both to maintain its shape and to encourage bushier growth and more flowers. Prune lightly throughout the growing season to remove dead or yellowing leaves and to shape the plant. Perform a more thorough pruning in late winter or early spring before the new growth starts, cutting back leggy stems to promote a fuller plant. The best time for heavier pruning is after the last frost when the plant begins to grow more actively.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Trailing Abutilon thrives in well-draining soil with a mix of loam, peat, and sand. A pH between 5.5 to 7.5 is optimal. Adding compost can enhance soil fertility and structure.

  • plantRepotting

    Trailing Abutilon should be repotted every 2-3 years or when rootbound to encourage growth and plant health. Use a slightly larger pot each time.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Trailing Abutilon prefers moderate to high humidity levels, around 50% to 60%. Mist regularly to maintain these conditions if the air is dry.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and maintain moderate humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, protect from strong winds and frost.

    • Hardiness zone

      8-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Abutilon megapotamicum, commonly known as the trailing abutilon, begins its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in warm conditions with sufficient moisture. After germination, it enters the seedling stage, quickly developing true leaves and beginning photosynthesis. As it grows into a young plant, it develops a network of roots and woody stems, with foliage becoming denser. The trailing abutilon then reaches maturity, where it starts to produce distinctive bell-shaped flowers with a striking combination of yellow petals and a prominent, protruding red calyx, signaling its readiness for pollination. Following pollination, typically by insects, the plant sets seed within a capsule-like fruit, which when mature, opens and disperses seeds to propagate the next generation. Throughout its perennial life, trailing abutilon continues to grow and bloom cyclically, with each active growing season followed by a dormant phase, an adaptation to survive variable climates.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The Trailing Abutilon, scientifically known as Abutilon megapotamicum, is commonly propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings. The best time to take cuttings is in the late summer or early fall. To propagate, you would select a healthy shoot and make a cut 4-6 inches (about 10-15 cm) long just below a leaf node. Strip the leaves from the lower half of the cutting, and dip the end into a rooting hormone to encourage root development. Then, insert the cutting into a pot filled with a mix of potting soil and perlite or sand to ensure good drainage. The cutting should be kept moist and placed in indirect light; rooting typically occurs within several weeks. Once roots have developed, the young plant can be transplanted to its permanent location.