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African Mallow Anisodontea

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called African Mallow:

Phonetic Spelling
an-iss-oh-DON-tee-u
Description

The Cape Mallow is an easy to grow beautiful upright evergreen subshrub that blooms profusely from spring until frost or all year long in southern temperate climates. The genus name Anisodontea is derived from the Latin for ‘aniso’ which means uneven/unequal and ‘odon’ which means tooth referring to the palmately lobed irregularly toothed leaves. The prolific small showy flowers resemble a small hibiscus ranging from pink to dark purple which bees and butterflies find attractive.

This plant is not picky about soil but it does need good drainage. Once established, modest water requirements make it a colorful addition to a drought-tolerant garden. Cape Mallows prefer morning sun and partial shade in the afternoon.  It can be planted in more heavily shaded areas but does not bloom as much and the stems tend to get scraggly.  A light frost will make the foliage drop but it will usually rejuvenate in the spring, however, it may not survive a severe winter.

The spent flowers will drop off of the plant so deadheading is not needed.  Prune at the beginning of spring to encourage blooming and to maintain a bushier shape.  The dense foliage makes it a good plant to trim into a tree-form topiary specimen. The dwarf varieties are very well suited for container planting. 

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems: 

Generally a tough, disease-resistant plant that pests rarely bother. May be susceptible to Puccinia malvacearum (mallow rust).  Watch for aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Anisodontea capensis, Anisodontea scabrosa, 'Tara's Pink'
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#easy to grow#pink flowers#hanging baskets#topiary#window boxes#long bloom time#hairy leaves#subshrub#hairy stems#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#container plants
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Anisodontea capensis, Anisodontea scabrosa, 'Tara's Pink'
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#easy to grow#pink flowers#hanging baskets#topiary#window boxes#long bloom time#hairy leaves#subshrub#hairy stems#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#container plants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Anisodontea
    Family:
    Malvaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Cape Province of South Africa
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8a, 8b, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Schizocarp
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are small about 1" and are found singly or in pairs at the leaf axil. The petals are a pale pink fading to mauve with darker veining towards the base and flower from spring through fall.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Palmatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Dentate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    3-lobed triangular to elliptical palmately veined up to 2.5" in length with hairs along the veins on both faces. Leaves are slightly aromatic and often somewhat sticky.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are hairy, bristly, upright and branched changing from green, reddish-brown to a greyish-brown with age.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat