Garden tree mallow | Lavatera thuringiaca

This tree mallow, also a member of the Malvaceae family, is native to central and southern Europe. It is also considered a valuable medicinal plant. It is a bushy shrub that can reach a height and spread of 2 m (6 ft 6 in). The striking, large, funnel-shaped flowers that may be pink or white depending on the variety appear in summer. The green leaves are made up of five lobes. The garden tree mallow needs very little care. It thrives in full sun in well-drained, only moderately fertile soil. In summer it requires plenty of water but not too much since being waterlogged can cause the shoots to rot. Rust can also be a problem.

It is best planted in a sheltered position such as against a wall of the house where it is protected from cold winds. It can be raised from seed or propagated from cuttings in spring. The plant can be cut back to the base in early spring to rejuvenate it. The root ball should be well protected against frost.

12. September 2014 by Dave Pinkney
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