The Q&A Archives: Mallows

Question: I have become enchanted with a plant in the mallow family. Last year I had one that was a lovely rose color, and this year I have a couple that are white. They look like a hibiscus but not nearly as large. The reason I'm not very sure what they are is because they both came from a mixed packet of seeds. Can you tell me a little more about them and are they available widely as seeds? Will they come back from reseeding if allowed to go to seed?

Answer: Sounds as though you've discovered the virtues of Malva alcea or Malva sylvestris. One is perennial, the other biennial, meaning it will bloom the second year from seed. You can save the seeds, or allow the plants to self-sow in their garden bed. These plants are related to hollyhocks and are easy to grow in full sunshine and average soil with regular summer watering. You can expect the plants to grow 2'-3' tall and produce a profusion of 2" wide flowers all summer long. Enjoy!

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