Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Prairie Mallow, Scarlet Globemallow, Cowboy's Delight
Sphaeralcea coccinea

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sphaeralcea (sfeer-AL-see-uh) (Info)
Species: coccinea (kok-SIN-ee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Malvastrum coccineum
Synonym:Sphaeralcea coccinea subsp. coccinea

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

under 6 in. (15 cm)
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive aethel On Aug 28, 2014, aethel from Albuquerque, NM wrote:

A beautiful little apricot colored wildflower which looks like a miniature Hollyhock caught my attention when I first moved to New Mexico. It alone was the only plant in the graveled parking stripe along the entire block. Not even weeds grew in that gravel! It was simply an entrancing beauty. I later learned it is Globemallow, the same family as the Hollyhock, specifically Sphaeralcea, or as a friend from the mid-west referred to it "Cowboy's Delight". Years ago I found one along the side of the road and dug it up to plant in my backyard. It has thrived and I am happy to say it now springs up everywhere around the yard each year because it self-seeds.

Positive Catherine_Moon On Apr 17, 2012, Catherine_Moon from Rio Rancho, NM wrote:

Sphaeralcea or Cowboy's Delight is native here in the dry sand hills of Rio Rancho NM altitude 5700 ft. I have never known it to become anything near a pest although single plants tend to pop up here and there. Either there are two varieties, one about 6" tall blooming in early April and the other about 18" tall blooming in late May, or else the May one is second bloom on the earlier one. I haven't figured it out.

My flagstone terrace is planted mainly with thymes but I have some little rock garden plants there for their flowers. The orange Sphaeralcea looks beautiful blooming with white Achillea serbica, blue Veronica pectinata, and (both pink) Armeria maritima and Gypsophila 'Filou Rose'.

Neutral RxAngel On May 16, 2010, RxAngel from Stratford, TX (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have these growing wild on our property, and they are pretty little plants. They are going into my experimental wildflower bed I have just started, with native SW Ks. plants. They have unbelievably long roots, and apparently in addition to self-sowing from seed, they put up plants from the long runners of the roots - just some of what I dug tonight were well over 3 feet long, with small plants branching up periodically from the running root. These would therefore need to go into a bed or area where you don't mind them spreading like crazy, both from seed and runners.

Forage Value: Deer and pronghorn antelope graze it more frequently than do livestock.
Uses: The Navajo used the roots during periods of food shortage. Some Plains Indian tribes applied chewed parts of the plant to sores.
Comments: Scarlet globe mallow is highly drought resistant.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Denver, Colorado
Grand Junction, Colorado
Rolla, Kansas
Utica, Kansas
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Portland, Oregon
Arlington, Texas
Dallas, Texas

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