How to grow Lavatera
Garden Mallow, latin name Malva are related to Lavatera and Alcea (Hollyhock)
Lavatera is an easy to grow, upright shrub which bears large attractive flowers from mid summer on wards. It will grow up to around 2m which means Lavatera is a good sized medium shrub to plant mid to back of a border, or where there is plenty of space. Lavatera is not reliably hardy in all areas and tends to short lived but makes a great addition to a border with saucer like blooms in pinks, white and purple with the added benefit that the flowers are long lasting. Dead heading will prolong flowering.
There are annual mallows, perennials and Shrubby Mallows, which is the Lavatera commonly grown in gardens. The Lavatera generally lasts longer that the perennial mallow and there are some good varieties with RHS award worth seeking out if you want to plant one in your garden.
Image top left is Lavatera 'Rosea' ** and centre is L. "Barnsley"*** amongst the most popular and both with RHS garden merit award, and right L. 'Kew Rose' Lavatera are tolerant of salt and so suitable for a coastal garden With most Lavatera they are trouble free and will grow on most soils including poor, dry soil with a preference for good drainage.
How to Prune Lavatera
As Lavatera can be damages by frost this can be overcome by the fact that Lavatera respond well to a hard prune hard in the spring down to the ground. In cold areas they are best against a wall to provide some protection. In April , when the new shoots can be seen at the base of the plant, and after the worst of the cold weather has passed, cut back all the old wood and let the plant re grow on which will form the summer's blooms. Lavatera flowers best if it has an annual hard prune which also curtails the plant's natural tendency to become leggy.
Lavatera can also be an annual, such as the short lived Lavatera trimestris 'Silver cup' which is an annual although it may survive the winter in a very sheltered spot. In northern or exposed areas it would be necessary to bring under cover for the winter.
As Lavatera is short lived it can be propagated from softwood cuttings in spring or summer.
Unfussy, easy to grow summer flowering shrub.