Ask a Question forum: Bartley Schwarz Flowering Maple (variegated leaves)

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Name: Dee
Hoffman Estates, IL (Zone 5a)
Aug 28, 2013 7:21 PM CST
Hi, I was given this plant (at least I think its this plant) as a gift at Mothers Day, and I had it outside for a while (I live in a Chicago Suburb). I had it outdoors for a while, but then brought it inside and it started to lose its leaves. So I planted it outside in the ground, and it has come back unbelievably beautiful. Its full and has a whole lot of flowers. My question is: Is this a hardy plant for my area? If not, is there a way I can maybe prune it back, and cover it for the winter? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. After all this plant has been through, I would really hate to lose it. HELP!!!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Aug 29, 2013 12:01 AM CST

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I'm not sure about this Dee, but the only abutilon - Flowering Maple - that I've had, had to be kept in temps above about 60 degrees year round, which means here in my zone 7a it is a potted plant that winters inside. They are evergreen, but inside only for me. It's a great little shrubby plant and mine was trimmed into a standard. However, I lost it one winter when we had an ice storm and had no electricity for a week. There was no way to keep it warm enough.

Chicago is a colder zone than mine, but if you can keep it inside for winter, keep it slightly watered and in a south facing window, it should be just fine.

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[Last edited by Sharon - Aug 29, 2013 12:28 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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Aug 29, 2013 7:08 AM CST
I think your zone may be a little too cold in the winter for this beautiful Abutilon (Flowering Maple); maybe you could pot it up and bring it in for the winter? A couple of sites that list the zones for 'Bartley Schwarz':
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Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Aug 29, 2013 10:43 AM CST

It sounds like you may have Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii' which is only hardy to Zone 9 (that's about 3 zones warmer than your area.) See this link for photos: Flowering Maple (Callianthe picta 'Thompsonii')

I'd recommend digging it up and potting it before you get a freeze. Also, check it for pests before bringing inside. If you have a glassed-in porch that always stays above at least 50 degrees F that would be a perfect spot to overwinter it. If not, a cool room with a bright window would work. It may loose all of its leaves again when it experiences the climate shift between inside and outside. This isn't unusual and it will regrow new leaves quickly. If you get worried that it may have died, you can scrape a bit of the bark with your fingernail and see if it is still green under the thin layer of bark. If so, then it is still alive and just taking a rest. Water it as needed and keep an eye out for pests like mealy bugs and aphids and you should have no problems. For watering, it is important for the Abutilon to never get totally dry and badly wilted, since they don't always recover well from that in my experience, but you don't want to water too often and keep the soil soggy either. It is best to water the soil thoroughly when you do water, even allowing it to soak in a saucer for about 30 minutes, and then not water again until the soil is dry about 1 inch below the surface of the soil (or if the leaves are just starting to wilt a little). I've found Abutilon, in general, easy to overwinter on my glassed-in porch (zone 7b/8 here.) They usually continue to bloom inside throughout the winter too, which is always fun!

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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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Aug 29, 2013 11:35 AM CST

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A local grower sells these in hanging baskets every year. I don't know how much root and branch pruning is required year to year but they look amazing! They're in the geenhouse overwinter so not being winter hardy in z6a seems a safe bet.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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Aug 29, 2013 2:49 PM CST
Mine stay outside during the winter in my zone 8. I keep them under the patio roof, against the house in their pots. I believe this is about the coldest zone they can handle outdoors in winter.

I agree it would be a good thing to dig it up and bring it indoors for the winter. The bonus is that it will bloom off and on through the winter. Don't over water it while indoors.
I only water mine when I see the leaves just beginning to wilt.
Name: Suzanne
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Sep 9, 2013 6:09 PM CST

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Your header says "Bartley Schwarz Flowering Maple (varigated leaves)" except as you can see by the links plantladylin posted above, Bartley Scherz doesn't have variegated leaves so it must be another cultivar. Depending on the kind of variegation, it could be Thompsonii as Danita suggested above but there are at least a couple other possibilities. A photo of the leaves and bloom would help ID it.
Since they originally come from South or Central America, Australia, and Africa, most are hardy down to 7b so yes, you would have to bring them in. Most are pretty easy to root too so you may want to try a few as bckup. I took cuttings of my big one I left behind 3 years ago and it's now as big as my original (7 ft.) My short frost nights take the leaves down but as soon as it warm again in the spring, it takes off again.
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