Lavatera

How To Grow Lovely Lavatera

Celebrate summer with the help of a classic, floriferous shrub - Lavatera. It’s popular name is mallow & it is an easy to grow shrub that increases in size quickly and vigorously. An established specimen may put on thousands of flowers, each one of which is a delight to the eye and a draw for bees and other beneficial insects. This characteristic makes it popular with children or the child in all of us! Who doesn’t want to do their bit to help our friends the bees – we’d be in trouble without them.

Mallows are true sun-worshippers and also thrive in drier soils. Once established they are happy in droughty conditions (but keep them watered as they settle in). Drought tolerance cuts down on the worry of watering, especially if you’re going away and contributes to their credentials as ‘sustainable’ plants for today’s gardens.

Another tick in the box for sustainability is that because they attract beneficial insects, they are a great companion plant to grow with roses. As well as complementing the fabulous blooms, their power to bring in beneficial insects will help to invite natural pest control into your garden.

There are a number of different Lavatera’s to choose from, Lavatera x clementii ‘Barnsley’ or ‘Rosea’ are both Award of Garden Merit plants. The flowers of ‘Barnsley’ are white with red eyes, ‘Rosea’s’ are dark pink (above). The evocatively named Lavatera ‘Burgundy Wine’ flowers profusely and bears dark pink flowers. ‘Kew Rose’ is another winner, bearing loads of flowers right through the summer, in this case bright pink. Each of these will reach a height and spread of 2m in suitable conditions and the gorgeous flowers are all a similar size at approximately 7cm across.

Lavatera is an excellent beginners plant, its vigorous growth and copious flowering is very rewarding and the fact that hard pruning in early spring will be rewarded by vigorous new growth and even more flowers in the coming summer will help a novice to get their confidence with the pruning shears. This makes it a good housewarming or, retirement gift (for someone who’s never had time to do much gardening) or even something to encourage a child’s interest. Buying and planting flowering shrubs is a fun activity for the summer holidays and will deliver instant results and brighten any border. You can even plant up containers to brighten a dull patio, giving you the chance to sit back and enjoy a hard day’s work on a balmy summer evening. With options on offer like Lavatera, what are you waiting for?

Julie Parker
My interest in gardening & wildlife stemmed from childhood days spent working in the garden with my parents & reading books on anything from robins to giraffes. As time has moved on these influences have stayed with me inspiring the creation my own garden & leading to interests in fish keeping & the natural world around me. I still love to read & hope that the knowledge I gain will make topical reading through these articles.