In the short life of our patio garden the most impressively quick growing California native plant has been Sphaeralcea Ambigua. We planted this as a one gallon specimen from the Matilija Nursery in November 2009. At that time it was just under 1′ tall. In five months it has grown considerably and now boasts a mass of 4′ tall flower spikes covered in bright orange blooms.
The blooming season is long. In full sun and with limited water this perennial will continue to flower from spring through autumn. The flowers themselves last a couple of weeks before withering then new spikes shoot up and burst into colorful life while the older ones fade away. I’m not entirely sure what to do with the spike that are no longer in bloom. I’m tempted to leave them alone until the fall and cut the plant back when flowering season is over. They may well produce a seed crop in that time so it’s best to leave nature to do as she pleases.
This is a great plant for gardens that get a lot of sun and heat. Apricot Mallow loves those conditions and rewards hosts with pretty flowers for most of the year. In a wildlife garden it will attract birds, butterflies and bees. We have a lot of hummingbirds visit our garden and they are content to ignore this plant.
|Common Name||Apricot Mallow|
|Botanic Name||Sphaeralcea Ambigua var. Ambigua|
|Potential Size ||3' x 3'|
|Notes||Attracts ButterfliesAttracts Songbirds|