Sunday, February 9, 2014

Abutilon pictum Tiger Eye
Abutilon Tiger Eye, blooming indoors, Russia
In this post I would like to praise this uncommon choice for a household potted plant. Initially, my abutilon collection started with the notorious Belvue variety and occasional Bella series. Soon enough I realized that Belvue were not of any interest to me due to their excessive height, inability to sprout easily when pruned, as well as very modest diameter of bell-shaped flowers (though they did come in a variety of colors). Bella, on the contrary, turned out to be very compact, bushy and had huge showy wide-open flowers.
Nevertheless, I started looking for other kinds of abutilon, too. In 2012, while traveling in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I spotted this awesome abutilon, which I didn't even know the name of. Don't know why, but I took only one little graft, which I brought all the way back home to Russia. When the graft started wilting, I realized my dreadful mistake and almost wanted to go back to Rio to get more. Luckily, the graft survived. In two or three weeks it produced roots in water and then, when planted, started growing very fast.
By that time I had found its name and everything I could about it. One thing I wasn't sure of was whether this tropical beauty would want to bloom indoors up north and in a relatively small pot.
To everyone's surprise and delight, Tiger Eye started blooming in January, when normally my other abutilons are still asleep. The same blooming pattern repeated this year, which made me think that the plant still lives by its native Southern Hemisphere standards: January is a summer month in Rio.
Anyway, Tiger is a fast grower, but an eager bloomer. It is not easy to form, unfortunately, but I am working on it. The original plant grew up to 1 meter, which was more than enough considering my small windowsill, and was sold. The consequent plants were treated with a growth-hindering hormone, which resulted in short statue, but also didn't allow the plant to develop buds properly -- it didn't bloom fully, the half open buds fell off. So this year I plan to prune it back extensively.
Naturally, I have no intention of getting rid of my Tiger because:
1) it has awesome flowers;
2) I used its pollen to breed smaller hybrids (Carioca, Rio-Rita -- now you understand where their names come from).
Enjoy my photos!

Abutilon Tiger Eye, blooming indoors, Russia

Abutilon Tiger Eye, blooming indoors, Russia
Abutilon Tiger Eye, blooming indoors, Russia

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