Lavatera: mallow

Height 50-90cm (20-36in)

Planting distance 45cm (18in)

Flowers mid summer to early autumn

Ordinary well-drained soil

Sunny site

Hardy annual

One species of mallow (Lavatera trimestris) and its varieties are grown as annuals. This is a bushy plant some 60-90cm (2-3ft) high with attractive trumpet-shaped hibiscus-like flowers coming in shades of pink and white. These appear during the summer months, and are shown off to best effect in herbaceous borders.

Popular varieties

Several varieties have been developed from Lavatera trimestris, including the following:

‘Loveliness’ is an old variety producing rose-pink flowers in late summer and early autumn. The plants are 90cm (3ft) high.

‘Mont Blanc’ has glistening large white flowers in mid summer on dwarf compact plants, 50-60cm (20-24in) high.

‘Ruby Regis’ grows 60cm (2ft) high and bears a profusion of large, deep cerise-red flowers.

‘Silver Cup’ has bright pink flowers shaded silvery pink. It stands 60cm (2ft) high.

‘Tanagra’ has large glistening cerise-pink blooms. It is a tall variety reaching 90cm (3ft).

Cultivation

Sow mallow directly in its flowering site in early autumn or mid spring, just covering the seeds with soil. It will flourish in most well-drained garden soils though rich soils should be avoided as they encourage leafy growth at the expense of flowers. Thin out the seedlings to 45cm (18in) apart in mid spring.

Mallow seeds itself freely and produces plants the following sea-son if the soil around is left undisturbed.

Pests and diseases

Leaf spot (yellow-brown spots) may affect leaves and stems.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Lavatera: mallow

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