Globe Mallow Plant: Native Perennial With a Floral Surprise

Globe mallow is a native shrub that brings a 'cottage garden' look and feel to a desert garden.  In spring, globe mallow plants produce a gorgeous flush of flowers.

Red Globe Mallow
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, they 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 is native to the deserts of North America and are extremely drought tolerant.  However they 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 in full sun and well-drained soil.  They can even handle hot, reflected heat, but will grow somewhat leggy if over watered or planted in the shade.

Globe mallow attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies to my garden.  They serve as a colorful backdrop to smaller succulents or perennials.

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

Orange Flowers of Globe Mallow
The pale orange flowers of globe mallow

However, they 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 Flowers
Pink and white flowered globe mallow plants.

I have red, pink and white flowering globe mallows in my garden.  So, how do you select a specific color of globe mallow?  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 cannot tell you what color you will get until the plant begins to bloom.  Now there are two different varieties that do 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 of globe mallow 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 the globe mallow since yellow went well with all different colors.

Globe Mallow Flower
Globe Mallow Flowers

So, are you tempted yet?  Well, if you are teetering on whether or not to add some of these beautiful perennials to your garden, let me add one other tidbit.  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.

So, are you ready to plant globe mallow in your garden, or maybe you already have some growing?  If so, tell me about it.  I am sure that you will enjoy this beautiful perennial as much as I do mine.

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Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.