Answer: One variety of Abutilon, or flowering maple, has variegated leaves (usually creamy white on green), which is actually due to a mosaic virus. This systemic disease is considered desireable on this particular plant. Occasionally a branch outgrows the virus and the leaves remain solid green, but generally the leaves start out solid green and then develop the swirly pattern you describe. If the leaves are turning brown, it's either a natural aging of the leaves, or your plant needs more humidity than it is getting. Try misting the leaves every few days to increase humidity around the plant. Abutilion drops older leaves throughout the season. As long as your plant continues producing new leaves, it's healthy. If you don't like the bare stems when the older leaves drop, pinch out the tips to promote a bushier growth habit.
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