UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County


Perennial- Desert Mallow

Desert Mallow Sphaeralcea ambigua
Common Name: Desert Mallow, Globe Mallow

Botanical Name: Sphaeralcea ambigua

Family:  Malvaceae

Description: Perennial, native to southwestern US

Sun: Full sun

Water: Low water once established

Soil: Tolerates alkaline soil, sand and clay

Habit and form: Shrub; grows up to 30 inches tall with a 30 inch spread; erect branches with scalloped leaves resembling the Maple

Sphaeralcea ambigua photo - Arizona State University

Flower type: Mallow-like with five petals

Flower color & bloom season: Orange flowers summer to fall

Uses for plant and/or flowers: Cut flowers are great for bouquets

Pruning time & method: Prune once a year after blooming down to approximately 6 inches to 1 foot

Maintenance tips: Low maintenance

Comments: Wear gloves and long sleeves when pruning as tiny hairs on leaves can be an irritant to skin and eyes


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