Lavatera, commonly known as mallows, are available as annual, biennial, perennial or shrubby varieties.
The flowers are large, open blooms, in white or pink and are great for attracting bees and other pollinating insects. With their long flowering season, lavateras are good for filling gaps or including in a summer container display.
Browse our handy lavatera Grow Guide, below.
Where to grow lavatera
Grow lavatera in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Make sure it’s a sheltered spot out of any cold, drying winds.
Sow annual lavatera seeds in trays under cover in early spring. When seedlings are large enough to handle, pot on and harden off before planting out into borders.
When planting shrubby lavateras, dig a generous hole, adding compost for drainage and a handful of mychorrhizal fungi to encourage good root development.
If you want to grow from your existing plant, let some flowerheads develop into seedpods and save the seeds to sow the following spring. Or, you can take softwood cuttings.
Lavatera: problem solving
Lavatera is generally pest-free but can be prone to rust and fungal diseases. Remove affected foliage as and when you spot signs of disease.
Caring for lavateras
Deadhead plants through the summer to encourage more flowers. Cut perennial varieties back in autumn and mulch annually with well-rotted manure or compost. The shrubby varieties can cope with a mild frost, but will struggle if the thermometer dips below -5°C. Prune in early spring to encourage flowers on new season’s growth.
Follow our guide to spring pruning.
Lavatera varieties to grow
- ‘Beauty Mix’ – is an annual variety, that produces pink and white flowers on tall, bushy plants, through the summer. The Royal Horticultural Society has awarded it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit
- Lavatera maritima – also known as the tree mallow, is a fast-growing medium-sized, semi-evergreen shrub. White flowers with a flush of purple appear from spring through to autumn. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
- ‘Mont Blanc’ – a large bushy annual plant with masses of huge white, trumpet-shaped flowers, which are extremely attractive to bees
- ‘Barnsley’ – a bushy shrub variety with soft pink flowers with a darker centre. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM)