Native to North and South America, this group includes both hardy and tender shrubs. All are grown chiefly for their attractive, mallowlike flowers in shades of pink and purple.
P. cymbalaria. ARGENTINE MALLOW. Low, spreading shrub to about 8 in. tall, 2123 ft. wide. Gray-green leaves to 1 in. long and 34 in. wide; pink, dark-centered, 212-in. flowers over a long period in summer.
P. hastata. SPEARLEAF PAVONIA. Gangly, hardy shrub to 35 ft. tall and 23 ft. wide. Narrow, evergreen leaves; pink, dark-centered flowers up to 34 in. across from spring to fall. Self-seeds readily and can become a pest. Responds well to shearing.
P. lasiopetala. ROCK ROSE. Most popular species. Native to the dry, rugged limestone soils of Texas; nearly evergreen except in coldest parts of range, where it dies back to the roots each winter. Bears many showy, 2-in.-wide, rose- pink flowers from June to first frost. Light green leaves are slightly lobed, coarsely toothed, to 112 in. long and wide. The plant naturally grows as a spindly, open-structured bush to 5 ft. tall and almost as wide, but it can be cut back in winter for a neater appearance. Useful for dry, shady areas. Tends to be short lived but self-seeds freely; let a few seedlings survive each year to replace the original plant.
P. multiflora. BRAZILIAN CANDLES. Tender evergreen shrub grows to 6 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide. Deep green, lobed leaves to 10 in. long. Spidery, bright red bracts enclose tubular purple flowers (they never fully open) with protruding blue stamens. Needs regular water.