Last Updated March 3, 2004
Maricopa County Cooperative Extension Home Horticulture:
Gardening & Landscaping in the Low Desert
The Abutilon palmeri is commonly know as 'Desert Mallow.' But there is nothing common about this quiet beauty. How many plants can find themselves up against a brick wall and come away smiling?
And smiling she does, throughout the warm season the 'Desert Mallow' puts on a happy face with its' orange poppy-like flowers, flowers that hummingbirds love.
The Abutilon palmeri can also grow in partial shade, but then it takes on a more open and sprawling appearance compared to its' full round shape in sun. The 'Desert Mallow' is a fast growing evergreen shrub that, under stress, can be deciduous. It can reach 3-6 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide depending on available water. It requires good drainage but loves the perfect storm. When temperatures are in the low 20's F, foliage and stem damage can occur. If pruned back severely in early spring, the 'Desert Mallow' will make a rapid recovery.
But the quality that elevates this herbaceous shrub from the common to the rare, is its velvety touch. The 'Desert Mallow's' grey-green heart shaped leaves are incredibly soft and addictive to the touch. Come feel for yourself at the Cooperative Extension office, 4341 E. Broadway Rd, Phoenix. Go to the SW corner of the building and you'll find an enchanting fenced garden up against a mural wall. As you stand at the entrance, the 'Desert Mallow' will be on your right. If in doubt, the test of touch will tell.
Photo and Text by Carol Parrott
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Back to Home Horticulture in Maricopa County, AZ
Plants for Maricopa County
visitors since January 1, 1998
Author: Lucy Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona
Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County
© 1998 The University of Arizona,
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,
in Maricopa County
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4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040, Voice: (602) 470-8086, Fax (602) 470-8092