Lavatera x clementii ‘Barnsley Baby’ (Tree mallow ‘Barnsley Baby’)

Botanical name

Lavatera x clementii ‘Barnsley Baby’

Other names

Tree mallow ‘Barnsley Baby’, Lavatera x clementii ‘Barnsley’


Lavatera Lavatera

Variety or Cultivar


Semi evergreen


Upright, Bushy


RHS AGM (Award of Garden Merit)

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White, Pale-pink in Summer

Grey-green in All seasons

How to care

Watch out for

Specific diseases


General care


Pruning group 6.

Propagation methods

Softwood cuttings

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Where to grow

Lavatera x clementii ‘Barnsley Baby’ (Tree mallow ‘Barnsley Baby’) will reach a height of 1.5m and a spread of 1.5m after 5-10 years.

Suggested uses

Wallside and trellises, Gravel


Grow in light, well-drained soil in sun with shelter from cold, drying winds. In cold areas, protect with hessian or fleece in winter and apply a thick mulch. If container grown, overwinter indoors in cold areas.

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral


Full Sun


South, East, West



UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4), Tender in frost (H3)

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7

Defra’s Risk register #1

Plant name

Lavatera x clementii ‘Barnsley Baby’ (Tree mallow ‘Barnsley Baby’)

Common pest name

Lance nematode; Nematode; Lance

Scientific pest name

Hoplolaimus spp.



Current status in UK


Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Impact (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

General biosecurity comments

Nematode species potentially affecting a wide variety of crops; prohibition of soil likely to mitigate risk substantially; keep under review in light of interceptions or findings should they occur in the EU.

Defra’s Risk register #2

Lavatera x clementii ‘Barnsley Baby’ (Tree mallow ‘Barnsley Baby’)

cotton mealybug

Phenacoccus solenopsis



Watching brief for potential impact on tomato production in the Mediterranean. Other southern European countries likely to be more at risk. Precautionary action will be taken on findings on planting material to protect glasshouse crops and botanical gardens.

Defra’s Risk register #3

Lavatera x clementii ‘Barnsley Baby’ (Tree mallow ‘Barnsley Baby’)

Spilostethus hospes



Seed bug unlikely to pose a significant threat to UK plant health.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read “Don’t risk it” advice here

Suspected outbreak?

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit:

One of the first jobs to do in the garden in early and mid spring (when it should be warm enough to spend extended periods of time working in the garden), is Lavatera pruning, ideally when the danger of hard frost has past

The genus Lavatera is in the family Malvacea. The common name most frequently used is ‘Mallow’. The genus contains approximately 25 species, consisting of annuals, biennials, herbaceous and evergreen perennials and deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen shrubs. Lavatera are found growing in the wild throughout the world including Russia, U.S.A., Australia and Europe. In their natural environment, they usually grow on poor, rocky soil, often in coastal regions. The conditions in the root zone therefore are usually free draining and you need to mimic this for the best results in your own garden with Lavatera. This preference for poor, freely draining soil make Lavatera ideal for a drought tolerant garden.

Popular with gardeners because of their large, showy, 5-petalled flowers produced for very long periods in summer Lavatera plants are easy to grow and are great value for money. A large Lavatera bush can often produce thousands of flowers from early summer to mid-autumn. The Lavetera flowers are also very attractive to bees and other insects.

Of the different cultivars available, Lavatera x clementii ‘Barnsley’ is popular in UK gardens. It reaches a maximum height and spread of 2 metres and flowers from June until September. The flowers are holly-hock like, whitein colour when they first open and have red centres. As the flowers mature they change in colour to a pale pink.

Another sought after cultivar is Lavatera x clementii ‘Rosea’. This cultivar has darker pink flowers, again produced in large numbers from June to September.

Despite being fully hardy (able to withstand temperatures down to –15C) or frost hardy (able to withstand temperatures down to –5C) Lavatera will always perform best in the warmest, sunniest parts of the garden. Such a site, combined with the previously mentioned good drainage and a hard annual prune can potentially produce more than two metres of growth in about 4 or 5 months and thousands of flowers.

Lavatera pruning is not hard, in fact, a Lavatera plant is a great choice for novice gardeners to begin their pruning training with because it is simple and easy to do and the spectacular results can be witnessed within a few months, This gives a sense of achievement and confidence begins to build.

The purpose of pruning a Lavatera shrub is to instigate the vigorous growth and the development of strong, healthy young shoots that will produce lots of flowers in the summer.

Left unpruned, stems from the previous year’s stems will become woody, brittle and will not flower as prolifically.

When to Prune Lavatera

Lavatera are best pruned in early to mid Spring.

How to Prune Lavatera

Here is a short 3 step guide to pruning Lavatera shrubs:

Tools Required: Secateurs, Loppers and a Pruning saw.

  1. Using a clean, sharp pair of secateurs cut down all the stems to within 1ft of the ground. For the thickest stems you will need a pair of loppers or even a pruning saw.
  2. If there are any weak or brittle stems that snap easily when you bend them then these should be removed right down to soil level because they are probably dead. Another way to check is to scrape a small section of bark away with the blade of your secateurs, if it is green under the bark the stem is alive, if it is brown it is dead.
  3. Pruning cuts you make on healthy stems should ideally be made just above where you see the stem slightly bulging or swelling. It is at this point that the new stem shoot is developing under the bark.

Lavatera shrubs live their short lives to the full, give them a bit of annual care and maintenance and you might enjoy them for longer than expected!

How to grow Lavatera

Lavatera can be damaged by a hard frost and aesthetically this can look unsightly. The best way to overcome this problem is to prune out the damaged branches in the spring.

Also Lavatera can get a bit leggy, and large and to keep it looking fresh it is best to prune regularly in the spring. Lavatera flower mid to late summer and on the current years’ growth. Prune early in the spring. Pruning is simple. You can either prune it down by around a third or half in the spring. Alternatively, since Lavatera respond well to a hard prune you can cut it down almost to the ground in the spring. As soon as the new shoots can be seen at the base of the plant, and after the worst of the cold weather has passed, cut back all the old wood and let the plant re grow on which will form the summer’s blooms. Lavatera flowers best if it has an annual hard prune which also curtails the plant’s natural tendency to become leggy.

Lavatera can also be an annual, such as the short-lived Lavatera trimestris ‘Silver cup’ which it an annual, although it may survive the winter in a very sheltered spot. In northern or exposed areas it would be necessary to bring under cover for the winter.

Lavatera is short lived usually becoming very leggy and flowering less by around year 6/7 depending on conditions. It can be propagated from softwood cuttings in spring or summer.

Lavatera Care: Tips For Growing Lavatera Rose Mallow

Related to both hibiscus and hollyhock plants, Lavatera rose mallow is an attractive annual with lots to offer the garden. Keep reading to learn more about growing this plant.

Lavatera Plant Info

Lavatera rose mallow (Lavatera trimestris) is an impressive, shrubby plant with rich, green foliage and 4-inch blooms that appear from midsummer until the first frost. The satiny, hibiscus-like blooms range in color from pale pink to deep rose.

This rose mallow is a Mediterranean native. However, it has naturalized and grows wild across much of the United States. The pest- and disease-resistant plant is a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies and various beneficial insects. It reaches mature heights of 3 to 6 feet, with a similar spread.

How to Grow Lavatera

Lavatera grows in most well-drained soil types, including poor soil. However, it performs best in sandy or loamy soil. Similarly, this adaptable plant blooms best in full sunlight but tolerates partial shade.

The most effective way to plant this rose mallow is by planting seeds directly in the garden after the last frost in spring. Lavatera has a long root system, so plant them in a permanent location where they won’t require transplanting.

Don’t plant Lavatera too early, as the plant won’t survive frost. However, if you live in a mild climate, you can plant the seeds in autumn for blooms in late winter and spring. Remove the weakest plants when the seedlings area about 4 inches tall. Allow 18 to 24 inches between each plant.

Alternatively, you can plant Lavatera indoors in late winter. The plant, which grows quickly, benefits from planting in small pots because they outgrow tiny pots or celled trays very quickly.

Caring for Lavatera

Lavatera care is not complicated. The plant is drought tolerant but benefits from regular water during hot, dry periods. The plant will drop blooms if the soil becomes bone dry.

Feed the plant a general-purpose garden fertilizer according to label recommendations every month during the growing season. Don’t overfeed; too much fertilizer may produce a green, leafy plant at the expense of blooms.

Deadhead Lavatera regularly to promote continued blooming throughout the season, but leave a few blooms in late summer if you want the plant to reseed itself.

Just Ask: Pruning (lots of it) keeps the bloom on Lavatera

  • Spring and summer pruning helps to ensure Lavatera’s survival. Spring and summer pruning helps to ensure Lavatera’s survival. Photo: / U.S. Department Of Agriculture

Photo: / U.S. Department Of Agriculture Image 1 of / 1



Image 1 of 1 Spring and summer pruning helps to ensure Lavatera’s survival. Spring and summer pruning helps to ensure Lavatera’s survival. Photo: / U.S. Department Of Agriculture Just Ask: Pruning (lots of it) keeps the bloom on Lavatera 1 / 1 Back to Gallery

Q: I have a Lavatera, or mallow shrub, that looks as if it is done blooming. Last summer I seem to remember that this perennial flowered all summer. Is there anything I can do to get it to bloom again?

— L.E., e-mail

M.B.: Try getting snippy with it. Lavatera, or tree mallow, is an easy-to-grow, shrubby perennial, but it can be short-lived and die out after three or four years. I have found that pruning in the spring and summer keeps this shrub more productive and living far longer. My editor had one that was extremely healthy for 20 years (until he finally had it dug out), thanks, in part, to a severe pruning every spring. Also, this drought-resistant plant doesn’t need extra water and hates to be sprayed, so don’t get the foliage wet.

Q.: I loved the lantana plants I grew in California. But I haven’t had much luck here. What is the secret?

— M., e-mail

M.B.: Heat and sun. Lantana also prefers little to moderate water. Grow this free-flowering annual in the same type of area as you would tomatoes — against a hot south- or west-facing wall, preferably under the eaves of the house so they don’t get rained upon. Lantana comes in several forms, including the more hardy Lantana montevidensis that often is used as a ground-cover plant. However, in our wet climate, don’t expect lantana to survive the winter as they do in California.

Q.: Help! I left a gate open and a deer got into the garden and ate all the leaves off my beautiful heucheras. I am left with bare stems poking from the base of the plants. It looks rather like a pincushion garden instead of an expensive collection of heucheras. What do I do now? Remove the stems? Will these plants survive?

— R.T., Snohomish

M.B.: Have no fear, even with deer near. Heucheras, heucherellas and tiarellas all will regrow new foliage in response to a feeding frenzy. As penance for your gate-keeping lapse, you will need to get down on your knees and clip off the naked stems now emerging from the leafless plants. That will encourage new growth, and if you keep the plants wellwatered and pamper them with a bit of slow-release plant food, you’ll have heavenly heucheras by the middle of August.

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