Last Friday on Radio Foyle we focused on the rose mallow plant, Lavatera. This is a cracker of a summer shrub for the garden, flowering from mid-July through until Autumn.
Lavatera flowers up close
Growing from 3’ to 8’ tall, depending on the variety you grow, these will give a glorious display of whites, pinks and purples. They will establish quickly and fill up space in a new garden.
In my own garden we grow some annual Lavatera as a cut flower, sowing seeds in the spring and then cutting stems for the table through the summer. We also have some of the shrub types – notably the variety ‘Barnsley’ which is a garden classic – thriving in full sun and well drained moist soil.
The upright stems of the tree mallow in flower
In a new garden to have some fast growing shrubs is extremely useful to give the garden a feeling of scale and to transform the space into a family garden. Shrubby Lavatera can reach 5’ in only two years, so these are good for filling space. In turn they can be cut back easily and respond well to pruning.
A visit to the garden centre will offer a number of variety options and growth habits, but the colours keep to the white/pink palette, with some nice varieties offering intense pink colours which really stand out in the garden.
A relatively trouble free plant, these mallows may suffer in the spring from a bit of Aphids but these are easily controlled once the Ladybirds move in and start feasting!
So if you’re looking for a fast growing summer flowering shrub for your new garden keep an eye out for the rose mallow plant in your local garden centre.
Gareth Austin MSc. MCI Hort
Gareth Austin Horticultural & Media Services
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