© RHS / Neil Hepworth

Introducing...

Lavatera

Botanical name: Lavatera

Common name: Tree mallow

Enjoy the masses of mallow-like flowers of Lavatera in shades of white and pink, offset by grey-green leaves. Most popular are the shrubby forms which make a pretty summer show in mixed borders or cottage style gardens. Lavatera are also annuals, perennials and tender shrubs.

Looks

The white or pink, sometimes veined with darker pink, flowers are shaped like single hollyhocks. Bushy forms reach around 2m (6⅔m) in height, smaller patio cultivars about half the size. The rather misleadingly named 'tree lavatera', Lavatera thuringiacais a tall, upright herbaceous perennialShorter annual lavatera are used as bedding plants.

Likes

Lavatera prefer free-draining soils and sunshine. Sheltered sites are best as taller plants can suffer windrock.​

Dislikes

These plants don't like soils that are waterlogged in winter or exposed windy places.

Did you know?

Shrubby Lavatera maritima with its with glamourous mauve and cerise flowers needs a mild region to survive outdoors in winter. Elsewhere it's a good container plant that can be brought into a greenhouse for the winter to keep the worst of the weather off.

Growing guide

Award of Garden Merit Lavatera

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Choosing plants for dry shade

Choosing plants for dry shade

Planting combinations for early summer

Planting combinations for early summer

Shade planting: shrubs

Shade planting: shrubs

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