Family: Malvaceae

All 25 species of these annual, biennial and perennial, herbaceous plants and sub-shrubs bear mallowlike flowers in white or rose-purple tones. They are found in many parts of the world, including the Mediterranean, Macro­nesia, Asia, Australia and California.


L. arborea, tree mallow, zone 8, from the Mediterranean, is a biennial or short-lived perennial which grows to 3 m (10 ft). It has longish leaves and reddish purple flowers which may appear in the first year.

L. assur­gentiflora, zone 9, is a semi-evergreen or decid­uous shrub from California, to 2 m (6 ft), with 15 cm (6 in) long leaves and rosy purple flow­ers.

L. trimestris (Synonym: L. rosea), zone 7, is a branching annual, to 1.5 m (5 ft), with pink, summer flowers. Various cultivars are available, such as the well-known 'Loveliness', with dark pink flowers; the white-flowered 'Mont Blanc' pale pink 'Pink Beauty; and the rose-pink 'Silver Cup'. There are numerous shrubby, ever-green hybrids such as 'Rosea', with pink flow­ers, L. 'Barnsley' with white, red-eyed flowers all summer; rich pink L. 'Bredon Springs'; and very deep pink L. 'Burgundy Wine'.


Lavateras are easy to grow but prefer warm, dry conditions. Propagate annuals from seed sown in mid to late spring, where the plants are to grow. Grow the perennials from cuttings taken in summer, or from seed sown in seed boxes, in late winter or early spring.


There are species suited to various climatic zones.

Lavandula      Leek