Palmer's Indian Mallow
Deadhead if a neater appearance is desired. Tip prune to encourage more compact growth and flowering.
This is a lovely, informal accent plant for native landscape gardens. Particularly nice near paths or seating areas where foliage and flowers can be appreciated. It is easy to care for and thrives under neglect. Its principal problems are generally derived from too much 'TLC' (i.e., irrigated too much and over pruned). It is tough and easy to grow. For best results, plant in rocky or sandy well-draining soil. Too much irrigation results in increased vegetative growth and reduces flower production.
Indian Mallow is native to the low Sonoran Desert in southern California, Arizona and northwestern Mexico and in the San Jacinto Mountain area where it can be found on dry rocky east facing mountain slopes and Creosote Bush scrublands from 1,800 to 2,400 feet where it grows with variable amounts of winter rainfall and long periods of drought. Its pale gray-green foliage helps reflect hot sun and reduce moisture stress. It commonly grows into a loosely mounding shrub approximately 4 ft. tall and 4-5 ft. wide. Bright orangey-yellow flowers occur in late spring into early summer and can occur intermittently throughout the year.
It appreciates light shade in the hot low deserts (where it has a more open habit). Can survive short periods of cold down to around 25 degrees and if tips are damaged by cold temperatures a bit lower, they can be pruned off in early spring.
May require protection from rabbits when young.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.