Lavatera - Growing Guide

Lavatera Growing Guide


Shrubby mallow

The three varieties of Lavatera in the Burncoose catalogue are all ‘old favourites’ and often regular features in cottage and coastal gardens where, with proper management and control, they are perfectly hardy. All three have been subject to botanical scrutiny as to their origins and there have been changes over the years. Today all three are believed to be forms of L. x clementii which is itself a hybrid between L. olbia and L. thuringiaca. It is easiest not to worry too much about this and to stick with their ever popular cultivar names.

These are semi evergreen herbaceous border shrubs or subshrubs which have, and always will, seed themselves onto any bare ground that they can find to colonise nearby sometimes crossing up with other species. After a mild winter you may only want to give your plants a light trim. However older plants benefit from a serious chopping down on an annual basis to perhaps 6-12in so that they can grow on again as exponentially as they always do. If you do not do this these plants can be short lived and succumb to gross over flowering and gross over seeding.

Lavatera x clementii varieties can grow from 3-6ft, often more in Cornwall, with a relatively similar spread. They can be a bit ‘thuggish’ but all is forgiven because they flower way in long racemes of flowers from June long into the autumn.

L. ‘Barnsley’ is a profuse flowerer with white flowers with a red eye.

L. ‘Burgundy Wine’ has rich dark pink flowers also up to 3in across when full open.

L. ‘Rosea’ (L. olbia ‘Rosea’) also produces dark pink flowers in absolute, unstoppable, profusion.


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