Alphabetical Plant Listing

Sphaeralcea ambigua (Desert Mallow)

Desert Globemallow, Apricot Globe-Mallow, Desert Mallow, Globe Mallow, Apricot Mallow


Sphaeralcea ambigua (Desert Mallow) is an attractive multi-branched perennial shrub boasting a profusion of brilliant orange-red, cup-shaped flowers, 1 in. across (2.5 cm), in spectacular clusters along 2-3 ft. upright stems (60-90 cm). This is, however, quite a variable species, and the flowers may also be pink, lavender or even white. Blooming profusely in spring, summer and fall (depending on the geographic area), the flowers provide a rich source of pollen and nectar to honey bees and butterflies. The small, silvery green, three lobed leaves, 4 in. long (10 cm), are crinkled and quite fuzzy with white hairs on both sides. Desert Mallow is relatively short-lived but delightfully self-seeds, keeping its presence in the garden. An effortless plant in the garden, it is heat and drought tolerant and usually pest and disease free. It cannot withstand wet winters and is best adapted to desert climates. Perfect for water-wise borders and rock gardens

  • Grows up to 3-4 ft. tall (90-120 cm) and 2-3 ft. wide (60-90 cm).
  • Thrives in full sun in sharply-drained, gravel-rich soil. Water maximum once per month in summer after the plant is established. Drought tolerant.
  • It is a great candidate for beds and borders, cottage gardens, gravel gardens or Mediterranean gardens.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for hollyhock rust.
  • Cut back after flowering to rejuvenate the plant.
  • Propagate by seed (no treatment).
  • Native to California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Mexico.

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Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 9
Heat Zones 2 – 11
Climate Zones 3, 3A, 3B, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials, Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' – 4' (90cm – 120cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Rocky Mountains, Utah, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Wall-Side Borders
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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Kimberley Rheinhard, Joshua Tree National Park, Joe Decruyenaere (Flickr), Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 9
Heat Zones 2 – 11
Climate Zones 3, 3A, 3B, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials, Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 3' – 4' (90cm – 120cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Semi-Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Rocky Mountains, Utah, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Wall-Side Borders
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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