Globe Mallow, Desert Mallow
Sphaeralcea ambigua

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sphaeralcea (sfeer-AL-see-uh) (Info)
Species: ambigua (am-big-yoo-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Sphaeralcea ambigua var. ambigua
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Perennials

Height:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Danger:

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

Pink

Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Red

Coral/Apricot

Orange

Red-Orange

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Foliage:

Evergreen

Silver/Gray

Velvet/Fuzzy-Textured

Other details:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us

Regional

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

Cave Creek, Arizona

Chandler, Arizona

El Mirage, Arizona

Gilbert, Arizona

Maricopa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Arroyo Grande, California

Elk Grove, California

Los Angeles, California

Lucerne Valley, California

Twentynine Palms Base, California

Vista, California

Las Vegas, Nevada (2 reports)

Silver Springs, Nevada

Crawford, Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas

Irving, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

6
positives
0
neutrals
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Apr 27, 2013, goldcow from Irving, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Bought this at a nursery in Austin TX and brought home to Dallas area. Did not expect it to survive the winter but it was one of the first plants to come back and bloom. It's my husband's favorite plant. I didn't like it at first but love it now. We get multiple colors on the same plant.

Positive

On Feb 19, 2012, kinderegg from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

I don't know why this plant is not used more often in desert Xeroscapes. Do not rub your eyes after handling this plant, it has a common name "sore-eye poppy". I had interns complain about skin irritation after collecting seeds from this plant, however I have never experienced this myself. I have had limited success with being able to grow out this plant from seed, yet it seems to readily colonize vacant areas in Las Vegas. As an added bonus these "hibiscuses" are able to suppress cheatgrass and red brome here in the Mojave.

Positive

On Jun 14, 2010, p2tso from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

Fast grower - really fast! Bought this as a 6-incher earlier this fall and after an average rainy season here in L.A., it has already exploded to at least 3' high x 4' wide with orange blossoms everywhere. So far, have gotten two "I want that" comments from people passing by. We have clay-ish soil here and after about a month to help it establish, it has received no extra water beyond rainfall. Haven't given it any fertilizer either. Hope it keeps up after this year!

Positive

On Mar 21, 2006, desert_witch from Lucerne Valley, CA (Zone 8a) wrote:

We have this pretty little wildflower growing all over our area. pretty much everywhere EXCEPT my yard, as I had a tenant several years ago who grated (read: bulldozed/destroyed) most of the 10 acres or so around the house. So if anyone knows how to propigate this, collect seeds, etc. I'd appreciate the info!

Positive

On May 12, 2005, Judy81350 from Queen Creek, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

They grow wild here, and in several different colors. I have mostly the orange color but I also have white, pink, and lavender. I seem to be the only person on my block that has the odd colors. Lucky me!

Positive

On Mar 26, 2005, Chuck1260 from Arroyo Grande, CA wrote:

This is a great plant. The orange color is quite unusual and looks good against the gray leaves. Cut it back after flowering and it comes back strongly. Although it is a desert native, It grows quite nicely along the central coast of California