Globe Mallow

Sphaeralcea ambigua

Globe mallow, also known at desert mallow and apricot mallow is a Southwestern native perennial.

Although shrubby, it stays fairly small—usually to about a foot and half wide and tall, but it can get double that size, if conditions are right.

Globe mallow is native to dry, hot desert regions, and easily survives those harsh conditions, making it a great low-water, easy care choice for Central Texas xeriscapes, and other areas that have hot, dry summers.

Although it doesn’t need much supplemental water, in its native habitat, the best growth and brightest floral displays occur in “rainy years.”

The leaves are hairy and light green, giving the plant an overall grayish appearance, except for the shockingly bright flowers, which are most commonly orange, but sometimes apricot, and occasionally leaning towards the reddish or pinkish end of the spectrum.

Plant globe mallow in full sun in very well-drained, even rocky soil, and water sparingly once established. As a perennial, the top growth will die back most years, but even if it doesn’t, it will benefit from a shearing from late fall through winter, to encourage fresh new growth.

Globe mallow virtually thrives on neglect, so avoid clay soil, and be careful not to overwater, especially when temperatures are cool or mild.

Our Viewer Pick comes from Allison Floyd of Harker Heights who found this cute green tree frog in her basil. Allison says that she doesn’t live near water, but frogs and toads seem to flock to her yard.  Thanks to Marc Opperman from the Capital Area Master Naturalists for his ID!