the easy-to-grow superstition mallow

abutilon1.jpg

Superstition Mallow
Abutilon palmeri
MALVACEAE

  • MODERATE TO LOW WATER (TERRACE TO TOP ZONE)

  • FULL to part sun, can take reflected sun with no problems

  • HARDY TO low 20sº F

  • Usually 4x4 feet but gets bigger in well watered situations. Easy to prune down

  • Bright orange flowers most of the year (warm weather)

  • LARVAL HOST to arizona powdered skipper

  • NECTAR SOURCE FOR BUTTERFLIES, MOTHS, BEES, and hummingbirds

  • easy to grow

This is one of those easy plants that you wonder why they aren’t in every landscape. Superstition mallow can grow in full reflected sun to part shade, blooms most of the year, and has relatively few problems. The evergreen leaves are fuzzy and gray to green (in more shade leaves may become greener, while in hot spots the plants will be absolutely silvery white). Flowers are an orangy-yellow hibiscus-like flower that attract native pollinating insects and hummingbirds.

Plants vary in size depending on water availability and pruning. They can be kept at a smaller 2-3 feet tall and wide or left to sprawl to about 5 feet tall and wide—a few very happy plants have been known to get about 8 feet tall, but they take well to pruning. Temperatures in the low 20s° F. will damage plants though they will grow back.

Superstition mallow is native on rocky slopes; 1000-3000 ft in elevation in Arizona, Southern California, down to sea level in Mexico.

Besides being an excellent nectar plant, it is the larval food plant for the Arizona Powdered Skippers.

Katherine Gierlach