Mallow tree laventera maritima aka bicolorTree mallow is a semi-deciduous shrub probably from the western Mediterranean where it inhabits dry rocky places often along the coast. It is a large loose shrub with an abundance of showy flowers over a long bloom time beginning in spring in warm climates and continuing into summer and fall. Plants bloom continuously in some areas. Each flower is about three inches across and consists of five lavender pink petals each with a dark lavender pink central blotch and veins. The green calyx visible at the base of the pedals adds a subtle accent. The gray-green maple-like leaves are circular in outline with palmate lobes and a covering of dense matted hairs on both sides. The plant grows very rapidly and needs to be tip pruned regularly throughout the growing season to encourage woody growth and avoid floppiness. A regular fertilization program throughout the growing season will help encourage luxurious growth of both leaves and flowers. Plants are relatively short lived and have a life span of about five years.

Type: Semi-deciduous flowering shrub

Outstanding Features: Flowers

Form: Loose mound

Growth Rate: Rapid

Bloom: Flowers 3” across, 5 lavender pink petals with dark lavender blotch and veins; in summer

Size: 3-6’ H x 3-6’ W

Light: Full sun but tolerates some shade

Soil: Fertile, dry to moist, well-drained; drought tolerant once established

Hardiness: Zones 8-10

Care: Tip prune throughout growing season; fertilize with high nitrogen fertilizer throughout the growing season

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, half-ripe cuttings

Comments: Short lived (five years).

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By Karen