How to Grow Lavatera Plants

Guide to Growing Tree Mallow, Royal Mallow, & Rose Mallow

Members of the Lavatera genus can be hardy annuals, biennials or perennials, but are normally treated as hardy annuals in the garden.

They are shrubbery and can reach a height of 60 cm to 1.8 m (2 to 6 feet). They carry pink, purple or white trumpet shaped flowers.

The perennial members of Lavatera flower in the summer, whereas annuals bloom from summer to the first frost of winter.

Some of the common names for Lavatera include Mallow, Annual Mallow, and Tree Mallow.

Lavatera assurgentiflora
Lavatera assurgentiflora - Southern island mallow by Brewbooks.

Lavatera tanagra
Lavatera tanagra by Photofarmer; creative commons.

Lavatera Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Tree Mallow, Royal Mallow, Rose Mallow, Annual Mallow, Mission Mallow.
Family: Malvaceae.
Life Cycle: Hardy annual. Hardy biennial. Hardy perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 24 to 36 inches (30 to 90 cm).
Native: Mediterranean, Central and Eastern Asia, Australasia.
Growing Region: Zones 2 to 10. As a perennial in zones 8 to 10.

Flowers: Annuals: summer to first frost. Perennials: summer.
Flower Details: Red, white, pink. Five petals. Cup shapes. Trumpets.
Foliage: Lobed. Palm-like.

Sow Outside: Cover seed. Every two or three weeks from just before the last frost until mid-spring, and in early autumn in warm climates. Spacing 12 to 30 inches (30 to 75 cm).
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Germination time: two to three weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Seven or eight weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Moist soil. Average soil. Monthly feed. Regular watering. Deadhead. Propagate: cuttings in spring.

How to Grow Mallow (Lavatera)

When growing Mallow and other Lavatera plants outdoors as annuals it is best to sow them continuously from spring to early summer. This will create a continuous bloom of Mallow flowers.

Once the sees are sown, simply cover them. Lavatera plants likes to grow in a sunny part of the garden that has good drainage. For the best flowering the soil should not be moist and not too rich.

If planning to first grow indoors, then they should be planted in peat pots, about 7 or 8 weeks before putting out in the garden. Transplant Mallow from after the last frost of spring until the start of summer.

They take two to three weeks to germinate at 21 degrees Centigrade (70°F).

They should be spaced at 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 inches; small Lavatera species) or 60 to 90 cm apart (2 to 3 feet; larger varieties).

Caring for Lavatera in the garden

Once growing, Lavatera should be watered regularly and dead flower heads removed.

It is best to fertilize them with a low nitrogen feed. If you require more plants, and don't want to let them self seed, then take cuttings at the start of summer.

Common Questions

How many members does the Lavatera genus have?

The Lavatera genus consists about 25 species. These plants are often known as tree mallows and produce large, attractive, hibiscus-like flowers.

Do members of Lavatera make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Lavatera species make good garden plants. They are often used in borders and beds for their showy flowers and rapid growth.

Which Lavatera species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Lavatera trimestris (Annual Mallow) and Lavatera x clementii (Tree Mallow) are popular species often grown by gardeners for their abundant blooms.

Are members of the Lavatera plant genus fragrant?

While the Lavatera genus is not generally known for fragrance, the large, bright flowers are a feast for the eyes.

What is the perfect location to grow Lavatera?

Lavatera prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil. These plants can tolerate poor soil conditions and are quite drought-resistant.

Is Lavatera invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Lavatera species are not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Lavatera plants from my garden?

To remove Lavatera, dig out the entire plant, making sure to remove all roots to prevent regrowth.


The Lavatera genus, a member of the Malvaceae family, comprises annuals, biennials, and perennials native to the Mediterranean region. Known for their large, hibiscus-like flowers, these plants are often used in borders and are commonly referred to as tree mallows.

Lavatera enjoys full sun and well-drained soil. Regular watering is necessary, especially during dry periods. Propagation is typically achieved through seeds, sown in the spring or fall.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Lavatera plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Hibiscus, Acer negundo, and Malva plants.