Plant of the Month: Globe Mallow | Water

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March 15, 2022

Globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua), each drought tolerant and exquisite, brings a novel “cottage-garden” really feel to the desert plant palette together with some surprises. In spring a flush of colourful flowers are produced that can trigger individuals to cease of their tracks. After that, globe mallow will bloom on and off all through the summer season and fall.

This shrubby, perennial is native to the Southwestern areas of North America the place it’s discovered rising alongside washes and rocky slopes. They develop shortly and attain roughly 3 ft. X 3 ft. in measurement. Globe mallow is chilly hardy to about 20 levels F.

Though most globe mallow crops produce orange flowers, they’re accessible in different colours together with pink, purple, white, purple and shades in between. On the nursery, you’ll normally see the orange flowered selection accessible. Nevertheless, some growers are starting to inventory choices of globe mallow in several colours. However purchaser beware; except specifically marked or blooming, you don’t know precisely what shade flower you’ll find yourself with.

The fiery orange flowers of the globe mallow add a burst of shade to the panorama. Picture by Noelle Johnson #azplantlady.

Typically, the shock happens after you plant them and wait to see what shade the flowers might be. I purchased 4 globe mallow, out of bloom, for my backyard and ended up with one purple, two pink and one white. For individuals who don’t like surprises within the backyard, you possibly can wait and purchase them in bloom within the spring.


Pink flowers on globe mallow (Sphaeralcea_ambigua). Picture by Noell Johnson #azplantlady.

Globe mallow attracts hummingbirds in addition to butterflies. They function a colourful backdrop for small perennials or small cacti. Think about planting with any of the next crops for a colourful desert flower backyard – penstemon, desert marigold, ruellia, and blackfoot daisy. This stunning however robust plant does greatest in full solar and performs nicely in areas with sizzling, mirrored warmth. Don’t plant in shady areas as it will trigger them to develop leggy.

Globe mallow do self-seed, and the seedlings might be moved and transplanted within the fall if desired. They’re used often for re-vegetation functions as a result of they develop readily from seed.


This gorgeous perennial could be very low-maintenance.  No fertilizer or amendments to the soil are required. Prune as soon as a 12 months to roughly 6 inches to 1 ft. after it has completed blooming in late spring/early summer season, which is able to assist to stop them from self-seeding, maximize future blooming and reduce unproductive, woody development. Globe mallow is not the kind of plant to repeatedly shear into a proper form. When pruning, put on gloves and lengthy sleeves because the tiny hairs on the leaves might be irritating to some in addition to an eye fixed irritant.

As soon as established, globe mallow is kind of drought-tolerant, however would require supplemental irrigation for the perfect look and flowering. My globe mallow crops are linked to my drip-irrigation system and do very nicely when watered three to 4 occasions a month, spring by way of fall.


Traditionally, globe mallow was utilized by Native People for medicinal functions reminiscent of treating diarrhea, sore throats, eye ailments in addition to pores and skin problems. Their roots had been used for upset stomachs and poultices had been made for treating swollen joints and damaged bones.

Pink and White Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea_ambigua). Picture by Noelle Johnson #azplantlady.


Do you know that as much as 70 p.c of water use is outside? That’s why we love desert crops and have them every month. It’s nonetheless a good time to plant, and you may be taught extra about Globe Mallow and different crops on our Arizona Low-Water-Use Plants web page.  Additionally, be sure you learn by way of all of our featured Plant of the Month blogs!

This text initially appeared in September 2009 and is being republished with permission. Water – Use It Correctly is proud to characteristic visitor bloggers who write about matters associated to water and water conservation. The writer of this weblog, Noelle Johnson, is an city horticulturist, Licensed Arborist and freelance garden-writer who helps individuals create stunning, low-maintenance gardens by way of useful recommendation on her weblog She is keen about instructing individuals in regards to the wonderful desert crops that thrive in our landscapes.

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