The Q&A Archives: Few Leaves On Yellow Flowering Maple

Question: My tree has leaves and buds ONLY on the end of branches. Leaves first yellow then die and fall off.

I have this 3'6" tree in a 17" high x 15"wide pot located in a very sunny (morning til 3pm) courtyard near the beach. Receives moderate water.

Should I fertilize? Prune? ...Help!

Answer: Sounds like your Abutilon is unhappy and is trying to let you know! Yellowing leaves early in the spring usually indicates root problems. Could be too much or too little water. Your plant needs regularly moist soil, but appreciates slightly drier soil during the winter months when it's not actively growing. Try immersing the pot in a large container of water to moisten the entire rootball and drive out air pockets, then allow the top of the soil to barely dry out before throughly watering again. Pruning the branches back will encourage the development of healthy new shoots. To keep the plant compact and continually producing new flowering wood, pinch back the growing tips throughout the spring and summer months. Once it produces healthy new growth, feed with a diluted liquid fertilizer, according to label directions. While your Abutilon likes full sunshine, it will suffer if the air is too dry. Try increasing humidity by misting your plant each morning. Best wishes with your flowering maple!

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