The Q&A Archives: Cutting Back Mallow

Question: We have a nice plot full of Mallow in front of our house. I think it's Malva Acea. Is this a perennial? And, should I cut the stems back now? If so, how far?

Answer: Malva is the botanical name for a group of perennials, annuals and biennials, which are commonly called Mallow. Some species look lovely in wild gardens and some look nice in a perennial border. They originate in European countries and some kinds have been naturalized in North America. M. moschata (Musk Mallow, Musk Rose) is a perennial that grows 2 or 3 feet high. This plant is found wild from Europe to northwest Africa and Turkey. It is a bushy plant with finely divided, fragrant leaves. The saucer-shaped, rose-pink flowers appear in succession from early to late summer. M. sylvestris is a perennial or biennial that is ordinarily grown as an annual. This herb has been grown since ancient Roman times. Its foliage, flowers, and seeds are still used medicinally, as decoration, and to flavor foods. This pretty plant grows 3 to 4 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide, and has small round leaves and clusters of pink flowers.

After frost nips the tops of the plants, cut them down to ground level. New stems will appear in the spring.

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