The Q&A Archives: Proper care for Malva Zebrinsus

Question: I recently purchased a plant from a local nursery that had no "plant tag" in it. When I asked for someone to write down what the plant was, all she wrote was Malva Zebrinsus. Please tell me all about this plant. What is it's whole name? When and how do you prune, fertilize, mulch, etc. When is flowering time? Please tell me all you can and be as specific as possible as I am a "gardening dummy"!!

Answer: Malva Zebrina is a cousin to the commonly grown hollyhock. It's a perennial plant that likes full sunshine, and soil on the dry side. It will bloom the first year from seed and reach the height of 2 to 4 feet (common hollyhocks grow upwards of 8 feet). You can cut the stalk down after flowering to encourage smaller side-shoots which will produce flowers. Fertilize the plant every 4 weeks with a complete fertilizer and mulch with compost or leaf mold to help keep weeds down. At the end of the season cut the stem to the ground. New growth will appear in the spring.

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