Anisodontea 'Tara's Pink' (Cape Mallow) - An upright evergreen shrub to 6 to 8 feet tall by 4 feet wide with inch long 3 lobed denticulate leaves and inch and a half wide pink mallow flowers with darker red-pink centers that are produced year-round.
Plant in full to part sun and water occasionally to infrequently - a low water requiring ("drought tolerant") plant. Cold hardy to short duration temperatures down to 20° F (it weathered the winter 1990 cold nights down to 18 ° F).
This plant was a spontaneous seedling hybrid, presumably between Anisodontea x hypomandarum (which is presumed to be a hybrid between Anisodontea capensis and A. scabrosa) and Anisodontea scabrosa that occurred in the San Marcos Growers' test garden where both of these plants were growing in close proximity. The foliage is larger and lusher than the plant we had as a Gary Hammer introduction of Anisodontea x hypomandarum, and the larger flowers are a deeper pink. The seedling in our garden grew to over 8 feet tall by 6 feet wide. We named this plant 'Tara's Pink' in honor (and now in memory) of Tara, the Rhodesian Ridgeback who used to roam the nursery garden.
This plant was introduced by San Marcos Growers in 1993 and has since been grown by many other nurseries. We later introduced 'Tara's Wonder', which was presumed to be a hybrid between 'Tara's Pink' or between Anisodontea x hypomandarum and A. anomala - it had attractive flowers with a deep rose-center and orchid striping radiating outwards and larger dark green leaves that were strongly lobed. Though 'Tara's Wonder had striking flowers, its coarse foliage and open form made it an awkward plant in the garden and it was discontinued in 1998. Most plants we have seen in cultivation labeled 'Tara's Wonder', even in reputable botanic gardens, have actually been plants of the original 'Tara's Pink'.
Information about Anisodontea 'Tara's Pink' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.