Malva moschataMusk mallow is a short-lived herbaceous perennial native to Europe, southwestern Asia, and northwestern Africa where it is found growing on dry fertile soils. It has naturalized elsewhere and grows along roadsides in North America. A relative of hibiscus, musk mallow belongs to the mallow family, Malvaceae, that also includes cotton, okra, and cacao. The bushy plant has numerous stout stems that are hairy and well branched. The lower leaves are up to six inches long, hairy and palmately lobed while upper leaves are deeply divided with five to seven segments. The saucer-shaped flowers are 2-2 ½ inches wide and have satiny petals that are wedge-shaped, notched, and rosy pink. They appear singly or in clusters in upper leaf axils over a long bloom time from early summer to early fall. Both flowers and foliage are musk-scented. Plants do best in cool climates and often self-seed. The genus name, Malva, is the Latin name for the flower; the specific epithet, moschata, comes from the Latin word meaning musky.

Type: Short-lived herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Rose pink, saucer-shaped flowers from early summer to early fall

Size: 2-3’ H x 2’ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Care: Deadhead for continuous bloom

Pests and Diseases: Japanese beetles

Propagation: Tip cuttings in early summer; seed indoors in late winter or outdoors in spring or fall

Companion plants: Artemesias, Coreopsis, Delphinium, Dianthus caesius, Dianthus plumarius, Liatris, old garden roses lox paniculata, Stachys byzantina, Veronica, yarrows

Outstanding Selections:
‘Alba’ (white flowers)
‘Rosa’ (dark pink flowers)

By Karen