Wall Flower- A Lesser Known Floral Blossoms Into It’s Moment With A New Eco Wallpaper

Photo of a large white porcelain bathtub with a side table displaying a potted green leaf, stacked folded hand towels, and a soap dispenser. To the left of the bathtub is a large window with pull-down bamboo blinds, and featured in the background is Kale Tree’s Abutilon wallpaper in Midnight Forest. Wallpaper has a dark green background with large pastel pink Abutilon flowers with cool grey leaves.

Kale Tree Founder Sarah Barnard is an advocate of all things nature. “Being in nature brings me great pleasure, and is the source of inspiration for much of my work,” says Barnard. “Setting aside time to enjoy and plant in my garden helps me decompress, and fully engage mentally and physically outside of my design practice. After gardening, I feel re-energized, focused, and ready to return to work.” One of Sarah’s favorite plants is Abutilon. She has three different varieties that she tends to in her garden.

An Abutilon making a presence in Sarah’s garden.The flower has bell shaped, bright pink petals with large bright warm green leaves shaped like Maple leaves.

Abutilon is a free-flowering plant that blooms beautifully draping, lantern-shaped blossoms of all varieties of pinks, yellows, reds, and whites. There are about 200 species in this particular genus. Also referred to as the Flowering Maple, Chinese Lantern, and Indian Mallow, this shrub earned its names from its maple-like leaves, lantern shape flowers, and mallow genus. These shade-loving plants are delicate, requiring regular care and maintenance. This effort can be fruitful; as a happy Abutilon can flower almost non-stop. These stunning plants are pollinator-friendly, attracting hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees alike[1].

While most commonly planted for ornamentation in gardens, the Abutilon has qualities that benefit health and well-being. Some Abutilon species have a history of medicinal uses for emollient, analgesic, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory purposes, to name a few[2]. Their flowers produce nectar, making them slightly sweet and astringent[3]. Floriography, the language of flowers, suggests that Abutilon symbolizes Meditation[4].

Out of pure adoration of this plant, Kale Tree created a line of botanical wallpapers inspired by the Abutilon.

Three images showing the progression of the botanical Abutilon drawing. Beginning as a drawing on a letterpress card and ending in a final drawing that was adapted into a wallpaper.

The line drawing for the wallpaper began as the annual letterpress holiday card for Sarah’s interior design studio. The Kale Tree team reworked and expanded the original illustration into a pattern for wallpaper and textiles. Photographs of Abutilons in Sarah’s garden were used as references to develop the drawing. Kale Tree designers chose to render the Abutilons in a larger-than-life scale to highlight their extraordinary beauty and bring a contemporary feel to the notion of traditional floral wallpaper. The color palette was adapted from Victorian Era paintings as a nod to art history, marrying classical with contemporary. Pink is utilized generously throughout the illustrations as it happens to be one of Sarah’s favorite colors. “Clients seldom choose to incorporate pink into their spaces, so Kale Tree is my outlet to explore and indulge in this color,” says Sarah.

Preliminary color palettes for the Abutilon Wallpaper. Six different color schemes all comprised of pastel greens, reds, and blues of various tones and temperatures.

Kale Tree’s eco-friendly wallpaper features a subtle surface texture and a hand-drawn pattern. It is available in three colorways: Midnight Forest, Evening Mauve, and Dusty Dawn. Designed with nature in mind, this wallpaper is made in the USA on FSC certified paper, is PVC free, and printed with water-based latex inks that carry the GREENGUARD Gold certification. The wallpaper is 24 inches wide by 27 feet long and is sold per 54 square foot roll. Kale Tree aims to promote health and wellbeing through introducing our healthful, ethically produced goods inspired by the intersection of art, design, and nature.

Three different color way options for the Abutilon wallpaper. (Left to right) Midnight forest color way features an Abutilon in pastel pinks with cool grey leaves and a dark blue background. Evening Mauve color way features an Abutilon in pastel pinks with green leaves and a grey mauve background. Dusty Dawn color way features an Abutilon in pastel pinks with cool green leaves and a periwinkle background.

You can pre-order for Spring 2021 here.


[1] Mahr, Susan. “Flowering Maple, Abutilon Spp.” Master Gardener Program, 5 Aug. 2020, mastergardener.extension.wisc.edu/article/flowering-maple-abutilon-spp/.

[2] Rajeshwari S, Sevarkodiyone SP (2018) Medicinal properties of Abutilon Indicum. Open J Plant Sci 3(1): 022–025. DOI: 10.17352/ojps.000011.

[3] “Abutilon Striatum (Red Vein Indian Mallow).” Gardenia.net, www.gardenia.net/plant/abutilon-striatum.

[4] Deitz, S. Theresa. Floriography Today: The Symbolic Meanings & The Possible Powers of Trees, Plants and Flowers. 2012.

Originally published at https://www.kaletree.com on January 29, 2021.



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