How to Grow Purple Poppy Mallow in Your Garden

Callirhoe involucrata is a type of perennial plant better known by the common name of Purple poppy mallow.

It is a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae).

This plant is indigenous to the USA and northern Mexico. Where they are found in abundance in sunbaked stony terrains in grasslands, meadows, on the shoulder of roads.

Attractive Callirhoe involucrata Wine Cups make great ground coverage plants in dry areas.
Callirhoe involucrata Wine Cups photograph by cultivar413, under CC license.

Many gardeners love planting this mat-growing species for its use at spreading over a wall. It is also useful as a low growing vegetation that brings color into the garden from the mid-spring season to late autumn (fall).

Callirhoe involucrata plants are also enjoyed by many gardeners because they are easy to manage.

They can flourish in containers, hanging baskets, on walls, and as a ground cover plant. This gives gardeners flexibility if they lack the space needed to plant them.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Callirhoe involucrata

To grow successfully in your garden, purple poppy mallow must have access to very bright sunlight.

That said, in areas with summers of very high temperatures it may be wise re-locate container grown plants to a temporary shaded location.

The ideal summer conditions to grow this plant is between 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 26°C).

Callirhoe involucrata grows best in dry conditions and is resistant to drought.

Wild Callirhoe involucrata plant growing in its natural a rocky habitat.
Callirhoe involucrata photograph by peganum, CC.

In the early growing stages of growth, an occasional watering routine is required until the roots are fully established in the soil.

Ideally the soil should have a medium moisture and be well drained.

Do not over water the plant as excess water drenching the soil can lead to crown rot.

Pruning off old material is required to help keep the plant looking healthy.

Callirhoe involucrata is not vulnerable to any specific diseases, but may be subject to fungal infections in areas where humidity is high and soil oversaturated.

If this occurs, treatment is recommended to use a fungicide and to ensure the plant gets enough fresh air, and has good soil drainage.

Quick Facts – Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Callirhoe involucrata

Common Name (s): Purple Poppy Mallow, Wine Cups.

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones 4 to 8 (survives to -34°C (-30°F) / Europe & UK H7 – hardy in all areas (even at temperatures below -20°C (-4°F)).

Best used for: Rock gardens. Wild flower and native American plant gardens. Ground coverage. Draped over walls. Areas with shallow soils. Dry areas / Xeriscape gardens.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial. Low Growing spreading form. Long taproot.

Native / Habitat: North America. Prairies, roadsides, open woods.

Plant Height: 4 to 8 inches feet (10 to 20 cm).

Plant Spread: 6 to 24 inches feet (15 to 60 cm).

Blooms: Late Spring through summer. Long blooming period.

Flower Details: Purple with white base. Cup-shaped, 1.5 to 2.5 inches (4 to 7 cm) diameter, reminiscent of poppies. Solitary. Five petals.

Leaf Foliage: Palmate. Five to seven lobes. Hairy.

Close up of Purple Poppy Mallow flowers.
Purple Poppy Mallow flower image by Patrick Standish, CC.

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight.

Suitable Soil Types: Rocky. Poor soils.

Soil Moisture: Dry soil. Good drainage.

Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Can be allowed to self-seed.

Alternatively, sow seeds directly outdoors at a depth of 1/8th inch (3 mm) at the end of summer or start of autumn.

Space at about 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm).

If sowing indoors from seed then first treat in hot water and soak for 24 hours to break down the seed coat (alternatively rub off the seed coat using sandpaper).

Mix seeds in damp sand or vermiculite. Stratify in the fridge for about one month.

Germination can occur during the stratification process but may take up to six months.

Can also be propagated from stem cuttings (summer). As the plant has a deep taproot division is not recommended for established plants.

Care: Ensure soil has good drainage to help prevent crown rot. Thrives on dry conditions but occasional deep watering during their first growing season can be beneficial for woody taproot formation. Tidy up plant by cutting back old stems at the start of spring.

Growing in pots and containers: Use a stony soil with excellent drainage.

Varieties: var. tenuissima – Mexican wine cups (lavender flowers).

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Drought tolerant plant. Low maintenance plant. Moist soils may lead to rot and slug attacks.

Flowers open in the morning and close in the evening. They will remain closed once they have been pollinated.

Further Reading and References: Winconsin Horticulture; Cornell University Botanical Gardens.

Family: Malvaceae (Mallows)

Closely Related Species: Callirhoe digitata (Fringed poppy mallow), Callirhoe scabriuscula (Texas poppy mallow); Callirhoe bushii (Bush's poppy-mallow).

Commonly Asked Questions

What is Purple Poppy Mallow?

It is a low growing perennial plant that is native to the USA and Mexico. It has long lasting purplish wine-colored blooms. It can survive in dry soils and its uses in the garden include ground cover, wall cover, rockeries, and for use in an informal border.

Is Callirhoe involucrate deer resistant? Yes.

Is Purple Poppy Mallow a rabbit resistant plant? No.

How do you Propagate and Grow from Seed? Easiest to sow at the beginning of fall. Lightly cover seeds. As plants form long taproots it is best to space out plants as seedlings before they become established.

I hope that you enjoyed this garden plant guide on how to grow Callirhoe involucrata. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Rose Mallow, Anoda, and Lavatera plants.

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