If you’re looking for a plant that does well with less water in Arizona xeriscaping landscaping that also pumps out colorful blooms, and is simple to care for, you just might enjoy the Cape Mallow. Here’s an evergreen shrub that presents you with a variety of looks many people like for their Glendale landscaping. It looks great year around, but is even more lovely from spring through fall, not to mention the fact that it is easily maintained at a smaller size than larger shrubs allow in order to retain a handsome presence in your landscape design.
Cape Mallow comes from South Africa where the climate is very similar to ours here in the Glendale, Arizona area. It’s formal name is Anisodontea x hypomandurum and it is a distinctive evergreen with larger ornately cut leaves. The dense foliage of this plant when installed in well draining soil and on a regular fertilization and watering schedule is excellent for shearing into a formal shape. The natural, softer look is also highly desirable in xeriscaping landscaping where a relaxed feeling is wanted. It will mature to about 6-feet tall and 4-feet wide, and is a great candidate for training into a tree form that is just gorgeous during the blooming months.
A moderately drought tolerant specimen, the Cape Mallow is best watered at least three to four times a month in spring and fall, and a bit more often in the high temperatures of summer. Drip irrigation is best as it allows all water used to be immediately available to the roots. All blooms appear on new growth, so periodic pinching back or clipping is advisable for heavier blooming and denser shape. If you’ve added a tree form to your yard, you will definitely want to keep up on maintaining that lovely globe shaped head. Just don’t shear it too often. Remember that the flowers appear on new growth, so allowing it to grow is highly recommended.
For best enjoyment, choose a place in full sun to plant your Anisodontea. If the soil is clay in that spot, it must be well amended to give your new specimen the right situation to thrive and be free of disease. Poorly draining soil can cause root rot during the rainy season, quickly killing the plant. Something you won’t have to worry about with proper planting preparation.
Image courtesy of john.kwasnik, by CC 2.0