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Herbaceous Perennial

Malva alcea
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

greater musk mallow

M. alcea is a perennial with erect or spreading stems to 120cm, sometimes more. Upper leaves usually very deeply divided, soft green. Flowers bright pink, saucer-shaped, in axillary and terminal clusters and produced over a long flowering season. Flowers and leaves similar to those of the native M. moschata, but on a much taller plant

Other common names
hollyhock mallow
vervain mallow
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Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Pink Green
Autumn Pink Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Malvaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Malva can be annuals, biennials or perennials, with rounded, often palmately lobed leaves and 5-petalled, open funnel-shaped flowers in the leaf axils or in terminal racemes

Name status

Correct

Plant range
SE Europe, Turkey, Caucasus

How to grow

Cultivation

Prefers to grow in light, well-drained, moderately fertile soil in full sun. It is likely to need support especially if grown on rich soils - see staking perennials. Can be short-lived

Propagation

Propagate by seed. Sow in situ or in containers in early spring or early summer. Take basal cuttings in spring, see softwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Low Maintenance
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Prune back flowered stems in the autumn

Pests

Aphids may be a problem

Diseases

Can be affected by a rust and leaf spot

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