Grape mallow: Anisodontea capensis

The ‘fleshy lizzy’, a member of Malvaceae (mallow) family, is native to South Africa. It has a shrubby habit and can grow up to 1.5 m (5 ft) in height. It is often cultivated as a standard.

It flowers continuously from spring to autumn with delicate pinkish-red blooms. It thrives in a warm, sunny position but not in strong midday sun. It is important to remove the dead flowers regularly. In summer it requires large amounts of food and water. The soil must never be allowed to dry out but water-logging must be avoided, otherwise the leaves will go yellow and drop. It also needs weekly applications of fertilizer. Watering should be reduced in winter. During winter the temperature should be 5-15° C (41-59° F) depending on the intensity of the light. Before taking out again, the long shoots can be cut back to three or four pairs of leaves while larger specimens can be rejuvenated by vigorous pruning.

Spring is the ideal time to take tip cuttings, which root easily. The plants can also be propagated from seed but the seedlings will not be true to type. Watch out for greenfly and blackfly.

23. April 2014 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Fruit Trees | Comments Off on Grape mallow: Anisodontea capensis


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