Globe Mallow: Native Perennial Plant With a Floral Surprise

Globe mallow is a native shrub that brings a cottage garden look and feel to a desert garden. In spring, this perennial produces gorgeous flowers.

Growing Globe Mallow

Red Globe MallowNoelle Johnson
Red globe mallow growing in my garden.

Globe Mallow is one of my favorite native shrubs. It brings a cottage garden look and feel to my desert garden, along with some surprises. In spring, these shrubs produce a flush of flowers that will seriously stop people in their tracks. Afterward, they produce smaller flushes of flowers off and on until fall.

This shrubby perennial plant is native to the deserts of North America and is extremely drought tolerant. However the plants look their best when given supplemental water. Mine are connected to my drip irrigation system. Globe mallow reaches a mature size of approximately 3 feet tall and wide when in flower.

For those of you who live in a colder climate than my zone 9a garden, globe mallow is cold hardy to 0 degrees F. Plant it in full sun and well-drained soil. It can even handle hot, reflected heat, but will grow somewhat leggy if over watered or planted in the shade. Learn how plant zones work and how to find yours.

Globe mallow attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies to my garden. This plant serves as a colorful backdrop to smaller succulents or perennials.

Globe Mallow Colors

Now, what about that surprise I was hinting at? Well, the most common color of globe mallow is pale orange.

Orange Flowers of Globe MallowNoelle Johnson
Pale orange blooms

However, the plants are also available in a rainbow of other colors ranging from red, purple, pink, white and varying shades in between.

Pink and White Globe Mallow FlowersNoelle Johnson
Pink and white flowering plants

I have red, pink and white flowering globe mallows in my garden. So, how do you select a specific color? Well, that can be a bit tricky. Although the most common color is orange, you can also get some that come in a variety of other colors. Nurseries do offer globe mallows that come in other colors besides orange, but they cannot tell you what color you will get until the plant begins to bloom. There are two different varieties that come in red (Louis Hamilton) and pink (Papago Pink), but otherwise you will have no idea what color you will end up with, unless you buy them when they are in flower.

Now for me, I enjoy surprises like this and would buy large quantities for landscape areas that I was in charge of. I would anxiously wait for the flowers to bloom to see what colors I would get. Since I did not know what color I would end up with, I would plant yellow perennials alongside them, since yellow goes well with all of the other colors.

Discover the top 10 water wise plants that will thrive in a dry spell.

Globe Mallow Care

Globe Mallow FlowerNoelle Johnson
Red globe mallow flowers

So, are you tempted yet? Well, if you are debating whether or not to add some of these beautiful perennials to your garden, let me add one other tip. Globe mallow is low-maintenance and needs no fertilizer. The only maintenance is to cut them back to 6 inches when flowers fade in late spring or summer. They do tend to self-seed and the tiny hairs on their leaves can be irritating, so be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves when pruning. I am sure that you will enjoy this flowering perennial as much as I do.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist, writer and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. She is the CEO and owner of 'AZ Plant Lady,' an education company that aims to help people garden successfully in the desert climate. She is the author of the book, Dry Climate Gardening, and her byline has appeared in publications such as Birds & Blooms and Phoenix Home & Garden magazine. She is an instructor at the Desert Botanical garden and Tucson Botanical Gardens.