Scientific: Sphaeralcea ambigua
Common: Desert mallow, desert hollyhock, apricot mallow, desert globe mallow
Family: Malvaceae
Origin: Arizona, south and east California, south Utah and Nevada south into Sonora, Mexico.

Pronounciation: Spha-er-AL-see-a am-BIG-u-a

Hardiness zones

Landscape Use: Xeriscape perennial accent, mixed dry borders and rock gardens, desert restoration.

Form & Character: Informal, similar in landscape character to B. marrubifolia, but generally not as robust.

Growth Habit: Vigor in urban desert landscapes much dependent on water availability. Can range from 1 to 6 feet in height.

Foliage/Texture: Variably ovate, orbicular to three lobed, often serrate, gray olive green, densely pubescent; medium fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Axillary open paniculate inflorescence in many colors ranging from orange, red, pink, lavender to white. Individual flowers to 1 1/4 inches long, showy; fruits are a two-seeded mericarp, not showy.

Seasonal Color: Brilliant floral displays in later winter and spring. Many different flower colors available.

Temperature: Tolerant

Light: Full sun

Soil: Tolerant of most desert soils; prefers light warm soil with decomposing granite or a crushed stone mulch cover.

Watering: Little to none to keep compact, responds to irrigation with encourages luxuriant vegetative growth.

Pruning: Head back severely in September through November in order to rejuvenate during the winter active growing season.

Propagation: Seeds germinate readily; softwood cutting are somewhat difficult to root.

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: Will delightfully reseed in desert or drier landscapes. Locally native globe mallow plants tend to have orange flowers. The genus Sphaeralcea contains over 50 species of herbaceous perennials or small shrubs in arid zones of the new world; 16 of those species are native to Arizona.

There are three varieties of Sphaeralcea ambigua. They are:

    S. ambigua var. ambigua (mountain apricot mallow)
    S. ambigua var. rosacea (rosy apricot mallow)
    S. ambigua var. rugosa (apricot mallow)