The arrival of spring is heralded by the cupped blooms of globe mallow throughout the arid regions of the Southwest.
Native to the Southwest, this extremely drought-tolerant plant easily handles both cold and hot temperatures. Hardy to -10 degrees, it can grow in drought-tolerant gardens in zones 6 through 9, where it begins to flower in late winter in low-desert locations, lasting into April. In colder regions, its flowering season starts a few months later. Often, they will also bloom intermittently in summer and fall.
The cupped flowers add a ‘cottage garden’ feel to arid gardens where they should be planted in full sun where they will reach 3 feet tall and wide. While globe mallow comes in different colors, such as red, pink, purple, and white – orange is the most common color. If one or more colors are present in the landscape, new volunteers may appear in a different color due to cross-pollination.
This intermediate desert native is easily grown from seed or by transplants and is a great pollinator plant as they attract bees when in flower.
Globe mallow fits nicely alongside spiky succulents such as century plant (Agave americana) or green desert spoon (Dasylirion texanum). For a mixture flowering perennials, add blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum), desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata), and Goodding’s verbena (Glandularia goddingii).
Its tolerance to intense heat is due to tiny hairs that cover its leaves and stems, which can be irritating to the skin and eyes, so wear gloves and long sleeves when doing any pruning. To keep globe mallow attractive and promote additional flowering the next year, shear it back to 1-foot tall and wide after flowering has ceased in spring.