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How to Grow Sidalcea Plants

Guide to Growing Checkerbloom, Prairie mallow, and Checker mallow

Members of the Sidalcea genus are hardy perennials that range from 60 cm to 2.5 m in height.

They have lobed leaves and carry purple, white or pink flowers similar to hollyhock atop loon erect stems.

Sidalcea blooms throughout summer. Some common names for Sidalcea include Prairie mallow, False mallow, Miniature hollyhock and Checkerbloom.

Sidalcea malfiflora
Sidalcea malfiflora by Tom Hilton.



Quick Sidalcea Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Checkerbloom, Prairie mallow, Checker mallow, False mallow, Minature hollyhock.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial. Some annual species (e.g., Sidalcea calycosa (annual checkerbloom)).
  • Height: 24 to 96 inches (30—210 cm).
  • Native: Northern America.
  • Growing Region: Zones 5 to 9.
  • Flowers: Summer.
  • Flower Details: Pink, rose, red, purple, white. Tall erect flower stems. Five petals. Mallow-like. Terminal racemes.
  • Foliage: Herbaceous. Clumped. Rounded or palmate.
  • Sow Outside: Commonly grown garden cultivars are often hybrids and will not stay true from seed. 1/8 inch (3 mm) Start of spring.
  • Sow Inside: Germination time: two weeks to two months. Temperature: 50°F (10°C). Seven or eight weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost. Space at 10 to 18 inches (25—45 cm).
  • Requirements and care:
  • Miscellaneous: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Moist. Humus-rich soil, or enrich ordinary soil with manure. Neutral to slightly acidic pH. Regular watering during dry periods. Cut back once flowering has completed to encourage further blooming. Cut back at the end of autumn. Supply a mulch of straw in areas where snow is expected. Provide a stake for taller species. Divide every two or three years to maintain vigor. Propagate: by dividing in the spring in cooler areas or the autumn in warmer areas.

How to Grow Sidalcea

When growing Sidalcea plant species such as Prairie mallow outdoors from seeds then sow at a depth of about 3 mm in the early spring. Small varieties should be spaced about 25 cm apart and larger species 50 cm apart. These mallows like to grow in sunny areas of the garden that have average soil.

If starting Sidalcea indoors then start the process about two months before the last frost. The seeds should take from two to seven weeks to germinate at a temperature of 10 degrees centigrade.

Once ready transplant the young Sidalcea plants outdoors following the last frost.

Caring for Sidalcea plants

Sidalcea are very easy to care for. The soil that they grow in should be enriched with manure, and they should be watered in prolonged dry spells.

As many Sidalcea plants are tall they will require staking. Once flowering has finished strongly cut the plants back, this will result in a second bloom. If you require more plants then they can be propagated by division in the autumn.


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