How to grow Lavatera

Garden Mallow, Botanical 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 onwards. It will grow to around 2m which means Lavatera is a good-sized medium shrub to plant mid to back of the border, or where there is plenty of space. It is a pretty shrub which bears many flowers all summer long.In cold areas Lavatera are best against a wall to provide protection.

Lavatera is not reliably hardy in all areas and tends to short lived but does make a great addition to a border with large, 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, perennial and Shrubby Mallows, the latter of which is the Lavatera commonly grown in gardens. There are some good varieties with RHS award worth seeking if you want to plant one in your garden. 

Image top left is Lavatera  'Rosea' ** and centre is L. "Barnsley"*** both of which are amongst the most popular and both with RHS garden merit award. L. barnsley is particularly pretty with its two coloured flowers. Illustrated 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

Lavatera can be damaged by a hard frost and aesthetically this can look unsightly. The best way to overcome this problem is to prune out the damaged branches in the spring. 

 Lavatera can get a bit leggy, and large and to keep it looking fresh it is best to prune regularly. Pruning is simple. You can either prune it down by around a third or half in the spring. Alternatively, since Lavatera respond well to a hard prune you can cut it down almost to the ground in the spring.  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 it 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. 

Lavatera is short lived usually becoming very leggy and flowering less by around year 6/7 depending on conditions. It can be propagated from softwood cuttings in spring or summer.

Lavatera is an unfussy, easy to grow summer flowering shrub.   

For more ideas on good garden shrubs to grow, check out check out shrubs and bushesspring flowering shrubssummer flowering shrubsshrubs with autumn and winter interest; and evergreen shrubs.

Updated 03.11.2019