Tree mallow | Lavatera arborea

Tree mallows (L. arborea) and shrub mallows (L. olbia) are native to the Mediterranean and Australia. In the wild these deciduous shrubs of the Malvaceae family grow to a height of 2-3 in (6-10 ft). The tree mallow has large, purple-red flowers marked with dark veins that appear in summer, while the shrub mallow has smaller, pink to purple flowers. They prefer a sunny, warm, sheltered position where they are protected from the wind to prevent them from drying out too much. In summer they need plenty of water. Lack of water would cause the flower buds to drop. Mallows also need plenty of food, which is why they should be given weekly applications of fertilizer until the end of the summer.

Pruning is not necessary. Very large specimens can be thinned out lightly in spring or cut back vigorously if so required. It is propagated from cuttings in spring or autumn. In winter, the plants should be moved to a bright, well-ventilated space with a temperature of between 5-10° C (41-50° F). Aphids can be troublesome during spring and summer.

10. September 2014 by Dave Pinkney
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