How To Tell The Difference Between Abutilon And Bastardia?

Sometimes, it can be tricky to tell two plants apart, especially if they look similar. We are here to tell you how to tell the difference between Abutilon and Bastardia!

These plants are not as easily mixed up as some others, but it can still be helpful to know what you are looking at.

How To Tell The Difference Between Abutilon And Bastardia?

How To Tell The Difference Between Abutilon And Bastardia

Although these plants come from the same family, there are a great many striking differences between them:

  • Abutilon can grow up to 4 meters tall while Bastardia generally only reaches around a meter.
  • Bastardia’s stems and foliage can be sticky, and even smell bad. This, perhaps, accounts for Bastardia being less popular to growers and gardeners!
  • Abutilon has a variety of flower colors (red, pink, orange, yellow), while Bastardia’s blooms tend to be plain yellow.
  • Bastardia flowers are a fairly standard shape, while Abutilon are a bit more striking and showy.
  • Abutilon’s leaves tend to be variegated, especially those that are grown form different cultivars, while Bastardia is generally a uniform pale green.

What Is An Abutilon?

Abutilon is the name for a fairly large genus of flowering plants, and it is a part of the Mallow family.

Abutilon is found growing wild in the tropics of the Americas, as well as Africa, Asia and Australia.

Despite these fairly specific growing conditions, Abutilon makes a great plant for growing at home, whether you want it to grow in your garden or in pots in your house – as long as you get the conditions right, it will thrive.

Abutilon needs a full sun position, good well-draining soil, not excessive watering and regular feeding with all-purpose, balanced fertilizer.

These plants have attractive green foliage, often variegated in colour depending on the type, and some really striking flowers too.

In the wild, these flowers are generally yellow or orange, but cultivated versions can often have red or pink flowers too.

As houseplants, Abutilon will grow fairly well year after year, but it is recommended that if they are growing in the garden that they be replaced completely every few years.

This little video will show you everything you need to know about Abutilon:

What Is A Bastardia?

Bastardia is from the same family as Abutilon – the Mallow family – and it also has a great many cultivars to its name!

It is a perennial shrub, native to parts of the Americas, and it can thrive happily in many places – even where invasive grasses have taken over.

This plant has pretty green leaves, and attractive flowers – not quite as striking as Abutilon, but still very nice to see.

Bastardia can grow fast and well, and it will reach waist height before too long – it doesn’t tend to get much bigger than this.

Although it looks fairly similar to Abutilon, Bastardia tend to be slightly smaller, and has some quite unpleasant smelling foliage.

Some species of Bastardia also have sticky stems when they are rubbed – possibly not ideal if you are in the habit of touching your plants regularly!

How To Grow Abutilon?

These plants are pretty vigorous and easy to grow, but there are a few things that you need to remember in order to keep them as happy as they can be:

  1. Give them a full sun position. These tropical plants like to be kept warm and bright, so ensure that they get a good amount of light.
  2. Allow some shade. During the hottest parts of the day, Abutilon likes to be able to shelter for a little while to prevent it getting burnt.
  3. Do not overwater. No plant likes their roots to sit in water, and Abutilon especially will not thank you if you give it too much to drink.
  4. Give it well-draining, nutrient rich soil. The soil should be loamy, slightly on the acidic side, and filled with nutrients.
  5. Prune it well. Because these plants can be very fast growing, you will need to give them a good trimming every now and then, to stop them from taking over your space.
  6. Deadhead the flowers. Removing spent blooms will not only make your plant look nicer, but it can also help to encourage new growth of blooms.

Here is a little article telling you all about a specific type of Abutilon, but the growing conditions are the same for all of them.

How To Grow Bastardia?

Similar to Abutilon, Bastardia likes its conditions to mimic its natural habitat – however, Bastardia is not as well known and grown as Abutilon.

If you are lucky enough to come across one, follow a similar set of rules to growing Abutilon and you should be fine!

  • Give it a sunny position. These plants come from warm areas, so they won’t thank you if you leaves them drooping in the shade!
  • Water occasionally. Don’t be tempted to give this plant too much to drink – their preferred climate is warm and dry, so only water when the soil is dry.
  • Feed a balanced fertilizer. Giving your plants a boost of nutrients is almost always recommended, and this will help them grow to their full potential.
  • Soil should be free draining and on the sandy side. Bastardia like soil that allows water to drain away, and sandier soil mimics their natural conditions.
  • Deadhead spent flowers. Removing dead blooms is a great way to make your plant look better, plus this can also encourage new growth.
  • Don’t over-prune. Unlike Abutilon, Bastardia doesn’t get too big, so it won’t appreciate being cut back too hard.

When you know the differences between certain plants, you can decide whether or not they are right for your own personal jungle.

Hopefully you are now armed with a little more information about the differences between Abutilon and Bastardia, so you can decide which will suit you best!

2 thoughts on “How To Tell The Difference Between Abutilon And Bastardia?”

    • There are not toxicity reports noted for Bastardia or Abutilon. This being said, we don’t recommend that you start munching on it! If a toddler or a pet gets hold of it though, you won’t have to rush off to the ER – just move the plant so it doesn’t happen again.


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