This genus belongs to the Malvaceae family and is a part of the Angiosperms group. It is an annual or biennial plant that is native to Western Europe and Central Asia. In a lot of temperate regions, this plant has naturalized itself. It is also known as the mallow plant. The scientific name for this plant is Malva sylvestris, and it belongs to the category of wild plants.
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This plant is a variable species that has different flower sizes and colors depending on the cultivar and species. It typically reaches a height of 1 to 1.5 meters. Some cultivars can also grow to a height of 3 meters. This plant can either be single-stemmed or multi-stemmed. Its stems are mostly hairy and can have an extensive branch system at the base or the top of the plant. They can be slender or slightly stout, depending again on the species and variety.
The leaves of this plant are cordate. The basal leaves of this plant are scarcely lobed, and the floral leaves are shallowly lobed or separated into triangular lobes halfway up to the base. The color of the petals is a purplish rose color. This plant also bears fruit that is a schizocarp and has 10 single seeded mericarps.
Cultivation of the Malva Plant
It is ideal if the mallow plant is grown indoors from seedlings. If an outdoor area is chosen for planting, then it should be ensured that the soil is well-drained and the location is such that full sun exposure can be ensured for this plant to grow. It is imperative that for ideal growing, this plant should get at least six hours of full sunlight each day. The soil should be loamy and slightly acidic. In addition to that, the plant should be regularly watered as extensive periods of dryness can cause damage to the plant and act as a hindrance in its growing phase.
It needs to be fertilized occasionally to ensure that the plant is getting the nutrients it needs to grow. A balanced, diluted liquid fertilizer can be used by spraying it on the leaves of the plant and also on the base of the plant. For the flowering varieties, a granular time-release fertilizer should be used. In addition to that, the plant is hardy in USDA zone 6.
Problems with the Malva Plant
There can be a few issues with this plant in relation to insects, specifically Japanese beetles. These tend to feed on the leaves of the plant. A few fungal diseases can also attack the plant, including mallow rust. Mallow rust can cause dark blisters to appear under the leaves. If this problem is left unchecked or not monitored, the plant can succumb to this disease and eventually die. This problem can be avoided to quite a great extent by watering at the soil level and by keeping the leaves of the plant dry.
Adding to that, it is ideal if the plants are thinned out. This can help with healthy air circulation. It is advised that the leaf debris should also be removed effectively. If a mallow plant gets infected even after all these preventive measures are taken, it should be immediately removed so that the problems do not spread to other plants.
Types of Malva Plants
There are many varieties of the mallow plant. A few of the most popular ones are written and discussed below, along with their ideal growing conditions.
This purple color perennial is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8 and grows to a height of 48 to 60 inches. It grows well in full sun to partial shade depending on the climates of the different areas that it is grown in. In addition to that, the soil should be well-drained and should have a pH of 5.8 to 7.2 in order to ensure that the plant remains free from any fungus problems. It takes around 21 to 28 days for germination to occur. The ideal temperature for this plant to grow is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. When planting this variety, it should be ensured that the seeds are not covered but only slightly pressed into the soil. The plants should be spaced at 36 inches to ensure that the roots have enough space to grow.
The flowers are a very pretty color and spread 2 inches. This entire plant gives a very bushy look and is best for flower borders. It can also be used in cottages and wildlife gardens. Another common name for this variety is French Hollyhock. It is a relatively easy variety to grow since it can be cared for without much effort on the part of the grower. The sowing months for this plant are February to April and the flowering months are June to September.
This variety is also known as Malva Bibor Felho. It is a hardy perennial that typically grows to a height of 1 to 1.2 meters. It is a shrubby plant that has dark veined purple flowers on top of long spikes. The flowering season for this plant is spring to summer. In some areas where the climate and temperature are suitable for this plant, it self-seeds. Adding to that, it is best if this plant is sown immediately in soil-based compost.
This plant is hardy in USDA zone 6, and it can survive temperatures ranging from -10 degrees Fahrenheit to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Adding to that, this variety also needs full sun to grow. Partial shade can also work but only in a few areas. The seeds of this plant take around 5 to 21 days to germinate on average. They should be sown 2mm deep in the ground.
Another name used to refer to this variety is musk mallow. This is a perennial or biennial variety that has palmately lobed leaves and 5 petals. The flowers of this variety are funnel-shaped, and the leaves are heart-shaped. The flowers are pink in color and appear in the blooming seasons, which are summer and early autumn. The USDA hardiness zone for this variety is 5.
This plant has a bushy growth habit and prefers full sun and moist but well-drained soil in order to grow properly. The soil can be chalk, clay, or sand and can be acidic, alkaline, or neutral. It can grow to a height of 0.5 to 1 meter and spreads 0.1 to 0.5 meters. It takes approximately 2 to 5 years for this plant to grow to its maximum height. In addition to that, this plant is short-lived and self-seeds to grow. It can be grown by seeds or by basal cuttings. The best use for this plant is in flower beds, borders, cottages, and wildlife gardens.
No pruning is required to keep this plant looking healthy. Moreover, this plant is pest free and does not usually have any disease issues, although rust and leaf spot can sometimes prove to be a problem but can easily be taken care of.
This variety is native to Europe and Southwestern Asia and is characterized by white flowers that are saucer-shaped. The blooming season for the flowers of this variety is June to September. The plant has a clump-forming habit and is fully hardy. It grows to a height of 90cm and spreads 60 cm. This variety is hardy in USDA zone 5.
The foliage of this plant is not evergreen but is green in color. It needs full sun in order to grow well and thrive. The soil should be moist but well-drained to ensure that the plant does not get infected by any sort of disease. The soil can be acidic, alkaline, or neutral. It can take this variety approximately 2 to 5 years to grow to its maximum height. This variety is rather easy to grow and does not require any maintenance either.
It is best if the seeds of this plant are sown in February to June or September to October. The seeds can take around 2 to 3 weeks to germinate. It can best be put to use in cottage gardens, flower borders, and beds. The leaves of this genus are edible and have a mild flavor. Oftentimes, they are used in salads. This variety attracts butterflies, too.
Malva Moschata ‘Mixed’
This variety is native to Europe and North Africa. The USDA hardiness zones for this variety are 4 to 8. The flowers are pale pink and white in the blooming season which is early summer to early fall. This plant grows to a height of 3 feet and spreads 2 feet. Its growing habit is erect, and the plant is bushy in nature. In ideal climatic conditions, this variety self-seeds, which means that you don’t need to worry about propagation and re-seeding. For ideal results, it is best that the seeds are sown onto good, soil-based compost.
The common names for this variety include Mallow, High Mallow, French Hollyhock, Common Mallow, Tree Mallow, and Tall Mallow. The USDA hardiness zones for this variety are 4 to 8. The flowers of this variety are pink in color and bloom in early summer, early fall, late summer, and midsummer which are the blooming seasons for this variant of the mallow plant. It has a very fast growth rate and typically grows to a height of 0.5 meters. This species is self-fertile and is a hermaphrodite. This means that it has both male and female organs.
Light, medium, and heavy soils are all ideal for the growth of this plant that has a lot of edible and medicinal uses. It is used in soups as a thickener and is also used in salads. For medicinal purposes, it is used for bruises, inflammations and insect bites. The leaves of this variety are alternately stalked and are glossy on the upper side. This variety also bears fruit that is broad and flat. The natural habitats for this variety are harbor sites, embark points, wastelands, gardens, and waysides.
This variety is more commonly known as Chinese Mallow. Other names for this variety include Cluster Malva, Malva, Mauve Chinoise, Mauve Crépue and Mauve Frisée. The blooms of this variety are usually pink or purple in color, and the leaves are bright green. It is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 12. When grown in soil that is rich in nitrogen, the plant tends to have high concentrations of nitrates in its leaves. This annual or biennial grows to a height of 1.7 meters. It is not frost tender and the flowering season for this variety is July to September. It is best grown in full sunlight. Light, sandy or heavy soils are all ideal for the growth of this plant. This variety also has a lot of medicinal and edible uses.
Malva Mohileviensis – Donnar
This variety is native to Europe. It grows to a height of 4 feet approximately. Full sun is ideal for the growth of this variety alongside soil that has a lot of moisture but is well-drained at the same time. Soil that is not well-draining can cause the plant to have infectious diseases. This variety also has a lot of edible and medicinal uses, just like the two that were mentioned earlier.
The leaves of this variant of the mallow plant are around 2.5 cm long and are hairy at the top. The stem is a weak purplish color. The petals of the flower are around twice the length of the sepals and are pinkish in color.
This is a short-lived perennial that self-seeds. It grows to a height of around 5 feet in the ideal growing conditions. It needs full sunlight to grow alongside moist soil that is well-drained. Adding to that, this variety has wavy-edged edible leaves that have a good texture and mild flavor. It is a very productive variety that is very fond of hot weather. It can also resist frost very well. In terms of its usage, it can act as an excellent digestive aid and can also be used as a thickener for soups. It has the proud distinction of being one of the first crops to be domesticated in Asia over the past 2,500 years.
The mallow plant is not just about beauty and adding to the look of a garden. It is an incredibly useful plant that can aid in cooking or can even be used for its medicinal properties.