Anisodontea or Cape mallow: planting cultivation care and flowering

Genre Anisodontia includes 22 species of very floriferous shrubs of moderate size. Among other things, there is the Cape Mallow (Anisodontea capensis). This slender shrub (from the family of Malvaceae) is very easy to grow and its growth is rapid. Although it is limited to a maximum of 2 meters in height, it does not go unnoticed in the garden or on the terrace because the duration of its abundant flowering is amazing. Let’s spend a little spotlight on the cultivation and maintenance of this pretty shrub native to South Africa.

Plant theAnisodontea capensis or Cape Mallow

The variety ‘El Rayo’ has only qualities and is suitable for all gardeners, even those without any experience. Planting takes place in the spring as soon as the risk of frost has passed and when the sun’s rays have sufficiently warmed the earth. In the South, it is possible to wait until autumn.

The method of planting in open groundAnisodontia is the following.

  • Dig a hole three times larger than the root ball.
  • Immerse the pot in a basin of water to properly rehydrate the root ball.
  • Work the earth extracted from the hole to loosen it and remove weeds. If necessary, incorporate potting soil and medium-grained sand, especially if the garden soil is clayey.
  • Enrich the soil with mature compost.
  • Place a layer of gravel at the bottom of the hole to ensure good drainage, then part of the earth.
  • Take the shrub out of the container and plant it in the center of the hole, making sure the collar is flush with ground level.
  • Fill in with the rest of the soil.
  • Pack moderately.
  • Mulch all around the base of the shrub.
  • Water immediately.

If one wishes plant multiple topics, it is necessary to reserve a good square meter for each of them. L’Anisodontia grows rapidly and can reach a wingspan of 80-90 cm. It must therefore have sufficient space.

About the planting theAnisodontia in trayit absolutely requires the use of a container with a pierced bottom, 50 to 60 cm in diameter and about 50 cm in height. We avoid plastic even if today it is popular because of the wide range of colors in which it is available. Better to use a large terracotta pot because this porous material, permeable to water and air, greatly contributes to the well-being of plants. In addition, it brings an authentic touch to the outdoor space and its aesthetic advantage is undeniable.

It is advisable to put a draining layer at the bottom container such as gravel for example, shards of terracotta or even clay balls, then plant the shrub in a mixture made up of 40% garden soil20 of river sand and 40% of soil for mediterranean plants. We tamp lightly and water in stride.

Cultivate theAnisodontia

L’Anisodontia tolerates all soils as long as they are deep et well drained. Heavy soil can be lightened a little with two or three shovelfuls of river sand. Note that a limestone soil does not scare him. Reserve a sunny place for it, absolutely sheltered from the prevailing winds. The shrub displays a medium hardiness, since it resists down to -8°C. In regions with a harsh climate, it is better to grow it in pots in order to overwinter it in a frost-free and bright place such as a cold greenhouse or unheated veranda.

Cape Mallow is used solidin isolatedbut can also be integrated into a low hedge and even finds its place in a container on the terrace or balcony. It is left to grow freely so that it forms a bush or it is directed on a stem. This shrub is perfect for rockeries and dry gardens because it is particularly resistant to high temperatures even in the absence of rain or watering. In this case, it just flowers less than usual, just to put itself in a period of pseudo-rest, but at the first downpour, its flowering starts again.

It is therefore a shrub to have absolutely to magnify its universe, outside as inside, without having to frequently take out the hose or the watering can, which is very appreciable now given that each year the temperatures are higher and higher. and increasing periods of drought.

entertain a Anisodontia

As long as this shrub does not experience standing water, it no problemand in terms of maintenance, it is really very easygoing.


L’Anisodontia cultivated in the open ground shows itself particularly resistant to dry summers. A little watering from time to time does not hurt it obviously because it allows the shrub to bloom more abundantly.

If grown in a jarthe shrub must benefit fromregular watering and sufficiently copious, but always allow the substrate to dry out between two waterings.


Installing mulch at the foot of the shrub is an excellent solution for save water but also his time. This limits the evaporation process which allows the soil to keep a certain coolness in summer, and considerably slows down the growth of weeds. Thanks to the mulch, we water less and we also hoe less.

Care for theAnisodontia raised inside

As we have seen, Cap El Rayo Mallow lends itself well to indoor cultivation. Even in its conditions, the shrub does not require great care. Of course, we pay attention to watering, especially in summer when it is very hot at home. In winter, it is absolutely necessary to respect a vegetative rest period. This consists of placing theAnisodontia in a very cool room, that is to say unheated, very bright, and to reduce watering.


In March, it is very useful to enrich the soil with a good shovel of mature compost that we place at the foot of theAnisodontia after scratching the ground. If the shrub is grown in a pot, throughout the flowering period it needs a supply ofliquid fertilizer for flowering plantsto be diluted in the irrigation water.


To prevent the shrub from being stripped at the base after some time, it is useful to carry out a small annual pruning, when winter is about to bow out. Just shorten the branches by about 30%.

It was also at this time that the stem size making it possible to obtain no longer a bushy plant but a small tree of great elegance. It is necessary to remove all the shoots that start from the central branch that has been kept to form the trunk. It is advisable to also eliminate the stems pointing inwards so that the heart of the antlers is sufficiently ventilated and takes advantage of the light.

Finally, whatever the desired shape, we remove the dead wood, the damaged stems, and we reduce those that are a little bare.


Repotting only concerns theAnisodontia grown in pots. He imposes himself every three years and takes place in spring. In other years, at the same time, a simple surfacing is enough. Remove about 5 or 6 cm of the surface substrate and replace it with new potting soil.

Pests and diseases

L’Anisodontia is not not prone to pests and is not susceptible to any disease. However, only subjects grown indoors are at most at risk of being colonized by whiteflies, which sprays of water with black soap are sufficient to eradicate. In periods of high heat, red spider mites are likely to parasitize this type of shrub. A good drenching of the foliage in the evening or very early in the morning helps to get rid of these mites naturally.

Breathtaking flowering of Anisodontea capensis El Rayo

This is on the stems of the year that these small shrubs of the genus bloom Anisodontia. The ‘El Rayo’ variety really deserves a special mention. His pretty little deep pink flowers at red streaks and at purple heart bring a colorful touch to the garden in all seasons, from our Mediterranean regions to Anjou, that is to say everywhere where we benefit from a mild climate with mild winters.

Cape Mallow therefore forms either a delightful bush with semi-evergreen foliage and multiple, highly melliferous flowers, or an equally exceptional stem shrub. Under excellent conditions, a subject can bloom at least from March to November. Special mention for the variety ‘Lightning that nothing can stop if it is ideally located: it is a fabulous shrub, which branches out constantly and blooms non-stop.

Its flowers which resemble that of the Hibiscus one after the other without interruption, month after month, year after year, and even despite short episodes of moderate frost and a few snowflakes… Extraordinary! say that theAnisodontea capensis ‘The Lightning’ (or Cape Mallow ‘El Rayo’ is able to never wither is therefore not an exaggeration. Eliminating faded flowers as you go allows the shrub to bloom even more abundantly. And there’s nothing stopping you from growing this mind-blowing strain home to have flowers indoors for several months.

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