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Sphaeralcea

Globe Mallow
Malvaceae
Perennials, Flowers

Grown for their attractive downyleaves and bright flowers shapedlike miniature hollyhocks (Alcearosea), these upright to trailingplants have a persistent woodybase with softer stems above.Colorful accent plants for hot,dry locations.

Need well-drained soil. Any morethan a little water causes weedygrowth and rust. Cut old stemsalmost to ground before springgrowth begins.

Sphaeralcea ambigua, photo courtesy of Steven A. Gunther
Sphaeralcea ambigua, photo courtesy of Steven A. Gunther

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Sphaeralcea ambigua

Native toUtah, Arizona, Nevada, California,and Mexico. Grows to 3–4 ft.tall, 2–3 ft. wide, with manystems covered in white or yellowishdown. Broad, roundedgray-green leaves are crinkledand slightly lobed. Each stembears many inch-wide flowers;usual color is glowing pink ororange, but white-flowered formsare occasionally available.

Sphaeralcea munroana

Native to intermountainWest and Rocky Mountainfoothills. Grows to 3 ft. highand 1 1/2–2 ft. wide, with uprightstems and rounded, slightlylobed gray-green leaves. Bearsmany wands of inch-widesalmon to reddish orange flowersfrom midsummer to earlyfall. Plants sold in Californiaunder this name may be theArgentine native S. philippiana,which grows to 1 1/2 ft. high and4–5 ft. wide and has leavesthat are more deeply cut thanthose of S. munroana.

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