Anisodontea is a genus in the Hibiscus family (Malvaceae) from South Africa. There are 20 species in the genus, many with horticultural value. They are generally dry growing shrubs with flowers of a shade of pink. The plants freely hybridize, creating new and noteworthy plants. The following plants are currently being grown or have been grown in the past at San Marcos Growers.
Anisodontea x hypomandarum
This is the most common Anisodontea in cultivation in California. It is a garden origin hybrid that is often misnamed in the nursery trade as Anisodontea capensis. The plant is a slender branched upright evergreen shrub to 6+ ft. tall by 4 ft. wide. The dark green 1 inch leaves are 3 - 5 lobed. Mallow-like 1 1/2 inch flowers are light pink streaked with magenta and appear nearly all year long. Although drought tolerant in southern California gardens, plants respond well to occasional watering, especially in well drained soils. Plant in full sun to bright shade.
A upright growing shrub to 6 feet tall with velvety pubescent leaves palmately lobed 3-5 inch long leaves. The large dark pink flowers, to 3 inches across form at the branch tips. Anisodontea julii comes from mountainous regions (4,000-8,000 feet elevation) in Lasotho and South Africa. Although these areas have summer rainfall and A. julii it grows well in winter dry Cape Town, South Africa as well as in sunny Southern California. Plant in full sun to light shade in any soil and irrigate occasionally. Our plants are from seed received from Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden in South Africa. Frost hardiness underdermined as yet but as this plant comes from higher elevation inland South Africa it should prove fairly hardy.
Anisodontea scabrosa - False Mallow
This is small shrub, growing 2-3 feet tall and as wide, comes from the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. It has rounded 1 inch long three lobed leaves along arching branches. The clear pink 1 inch wide flowers can appear at any time but are most abundant early spring to early summer. Although from stream banks in its native habitat, False Mallow can tolerate moderately dry conditions; water occasionally to promote new growth and flowering. Plant in full sun to light shade in a wide range of soils. Will tolerate winter temperatures down to the high teens F.
Anisodontea 'Tara's Pink'(1992 San Marcos Growers Plant Introduction)
A spontaneous seedling hybrid between A. x hypomandarum and A scabrosa that occurred in the San Marcos Growers test garden. The foliage is larger and more lush then A. x hypomandarum and the larger flowers are a clearer pink. The seedling was first noticed in 1990 and has grown to over 8 ft. tall by 6 ft. wide. This plant is thriving in full sun in the driest part of the test garden and looks great with only 3 summer waterings! Will tolerate winter temperatures down to the high teens F. We have named this plant 'Tara's Pink' in honor of Tara, the female Rhodesian Ridgeback who roamed this garden.
Anisodontea 'Tara's Wonder' (1994 San Marcos Growers Plant Introduction)
A hybrid that under similar circumstances as A. `Tara's Pink' but most likely having A. anomola as one parent instead of A. scabrosa. This selection differs in having darker green leaves that are strongly lobed. The flowers are a deep rose-red center with orchid striping radiating out towards the petal tips. The stock plant of 'Tara's Wonder' has grown to over 6 feet tall. It is thriving in our test garden in full sun in the driest part of the garden. Will tolerate winter temperatures down to the high teens F.