Mallow is a lovely flower that blooms in late summer and into fall. Malva is the ancient Latin name for “mallow,” used by Pliny and derived from the Greek name Malachi, “to soften,” in reference to its emollient qualities.
Description of mallow: Mallow is a bushy perennial with stout stems growing to 4 feet. Soft green, fingered leaves and 5-petaled flowers in the leaf axils bloom over a long period. Ease of care: Easy.
Growing mallow: Malvas are not fussy about soil, and any good garden soil will do. They adapt to dry conditions, but do require full sun or, at best, a bit of shade.
Propagating mallow: By seed or by division in early spring.
Uses for mallow: Malvas mix beautifully with white phlox and in the midst of ornamental grasses. They are most effective when planted mid-border.
Mallow related species: Malva moschata Alba is similar to M. Alcea, with white flowers on slightly shorter stems.
Mallow related variety: Fastigiata has pink flowers with darker veining. It requires no staking and can be used for cut flowers.
Scientific name for mallow: Malua alcea
Hibiscus pedunculatus (Pink Mallow) A relatively fast-growing sparsely branched subshrub (or shrubby perennial) that grows up to 3 to 5 feet tall with a woody base. The slender stems hold 3 lobed toothed leaves that have short stellate (star-shaped) hairs, giving them a slightly rough texture. Through much of the year, but primarily spring to fall, appear the showy 2 inch wide clear pink flowers that that are carried on dainty stalks (peduncles) rising from the leaf axils. The flowers appear trumpet shaped but are actually 5 overlapping petals. As with many mallows, the flower only lasts but one day but are produced in abundance so the is a succession of flowers through the warm months of the year. The flowers are are followed by capsules containing seeds surrounded with cotton-like floss. It does best planted in full sun, but can also tolerate light shade quite well but too deep of shade will prevent flowering. Give a regular to occasional irrigation during summer. It is moderately frost tolerant (some claim to 20° F) and has performed well at our coastal location over winter, but would likely require some shelter from colder temperatures inland. Prune the shrub lightly or harder towards the end of summer to shape and keep from getting straggly. A nice plant for a small informal hedge, specimen plant (in the garden or container), border planting, in the back of the perennial bed – best planted in a group or behind shorter plants to hide sparse foliage at base. It is attractive to bees and butterflies. This plant is a common species found along forest margins in the Northern Province, Mpumalanga (Eastern Transvaal), KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This plant was officially named by Carl von Linnaeus, “the Father of Taxonomy” in 1781. The name Hibiscus comes from the Greek ‘hibiskos’ which was used for marsh mallow and was possibly derived from the ibis, a stork that is noted as feeding on some species of mallow. The specific epithet means ‘with a peduncle’ in reference to the long an inflorescence stalk, technically called a peduncle. This plant also is commonly called Forest Pink Hibiscus, Wild Hibiscus and Pienk hibiscus in Afrikaans. There has long been name confusion between this plant and the very different white flowering Mexican mallow, Pavonia candida, which we also grow. We thank John Bleck for introducing us to the very nice plant and for providing us with our initial stock plant. The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery’s garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Hibiscus pedunculatus.
- Malva, Pink Musk Mallow ‘Rosea’
- Hollyhock Seeds – Malva Moschata Rose Musk Mallow Flower Seed
- Plant Finder
- Musk Mallow Care: Growing Musk Mallow In The Garden
- Musk Mallow Info
- How to Grow Musk Mallow
- Musk Mallow Malva moschata
- Irish Wildflowers Irish Wild Plants Irish Wild Flora Wildflowers of Ireland
Malva, Pink Musk Mallow ‘Rosea’
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Sun to Partial Shade
Unknown – Tell us
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
Where to Grow:
Unknown – Tell us
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Unknown – Tell us
Late Spring/Early Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Unknown – Tell us
Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
Unknown – Tell us
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Jersey City, New Jersey
Newland, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Hollyhock Seeds – Malva Moschata Rose Musk Mallow Flower Seed
USDA Zones: 3 – 9
Height: 24 – 36 inches
Bloom Season: Summer
Bloom Color: Pink
Environment: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Type: Well-drained, pH 5.2 – 6.5
Temperature: 70 – 75F
Average Germ Time: 14 – 28 days
Light Required: Yes
Depth: Do not cover the seed but press into the soil
Sowing Rate: 2 – 3 seeds per plant
Moisture: Keep moist until germination
Plant Spacing: 36 inches
Care & Maintenance: Hollyhock
Hollyhock (Malva Moschata Rosea) – Also known as Musk Mallow Rose, this flowering perennial is a close cousin to the hollyhock. Grown from flower seeds, Malva Moschata has a shorter height of 36 inches forming a bushy mound of deep-cut leaves. The bloom season is long, and the blooms are 1 – 2 inches wide, in shades of pink, and have a pleasant musky fragrance. Although not long-lived, this pink Musk Mallow will drop its own flower seeds and come back for years. Mallow plants always attract the hummingbirds and butterflies to the garden.
Establishing Musk Mallow from flower seeds is very rewarding. To get a jump start on the growing season, you can certainly sow Musk Mallow seeds indoors or in the greenhouse 6 – 8 weeks before the last frost date. Use starter trays and quality starter mix and sow the Malva seeds on the surface, pressing them into the soil to make good contact. Keep them consistently moist. Sowing the flower seeds directly outdoors is an option as well. Prepare soil bed, sow the seeds on the surface and dust over them very lightly with loose garden soil. Keep the flower seeds moist until germination has occurred. Young Malva Moschata plants can be transplanted or even moved to other positions in the garden. During the bloom season, water Mallow plants well and use a balanced fertilizer. After bloom season, cutting plants back hard in August will encourage the plants to winter and survive for longer.
Pink Mallow flowers
Pink Mallow flowers
(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)
Height: 3 feet
Spread: 24 inches
Hardiness Zone: 3a
Other Names: Musk Mallow
Pink Mallow has masses of beautiful shell pink round flowers at the ends of the stems from mid summer to early fall, which are most effective when planted in groupings. Its deeply cut lobed leaves remain green in colour throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Pink Mallow is an herbaceous perennial with a mounded form. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.
This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;
Pink Mallow is recommended for the following landscape applications;
- Mass Planting
- General Garden Use
Planting & Growing
Pink Mallow will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 3 years.
This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.
Musk Mallow Care: Growing Musk Mallow In The Garden
What is musk mallow? A close cousin to the old-fashioned hollyhock, musk mallow is an upright perennial with fuzzy, palm-shaped leaves. Rosy-pink, five-petaled blooms decorate the plant from early summer through autumn. Also known as Australian hollyhock or musk rose, musk mallow is a colorful, low-maintenance addition to the garden, attracting scads of honeybees and butterflies. Read on to learn about growing musk mallow.
Musk Mallow Info
Musk mallow (Malva moschata) was transported to North America by European settlers. Unfortunately, it has become invasive throughout much of the northwestern and northeastern parts of the United States, where it is likely to pop up in roadsides, along railroads and dry, grassy fields. Musk mallow often marks the location of old homesteads.
Musk mallow is a hardy plant, suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. As with common mallow plants, it’s a good idea to consider the invasive potential before you consider growing musk mallow. Your local cooperative extension office is a good source of information. You can also contact the fish and wildlife service in your area.
How to Grow Musk Mallow
Plant musk mallow seeds outdoors in autumn or before the last frost in spring, covering each seed with a small amount of soil. Allow 10 to 24 inches (25-61 cm.) between each plant.
Musk mallow thrives in full sunlight but will also adapt to partial shade. Although musk mallow tolerates poor, thin soil, it prefers well-drained growing conditions.
Keep the soil moist after planting, especially during warm weather. Once established, musk mallow tolerates dry soil. However, an occasional irrigation is helpful during prolonged dry spells.
Cut the plant to the ground in autumn as part of your musk mallow care each season.
Musk Mallow Malva moschata
A pretty, dainty relative of the common mallow, it has become a popular cottage garden plant.
An erect plant with hairy stems and deeply cut, feathery leaves. The five petalled flowers are usually pale pink, but white ones may occur.
Where to find Musk Mallow
It favours dry places and may be found on roadside verges, in hedgerows, pastures and along the edges of fields.
How’s it doing?
The musk mallow is native to southern England, but is probably introduced in northern Britain and Ireland. The distribution is stable, although it may be increasingly introduced with wild-flower seed mixtures and as garden escapes.
Did you know?
- The ancient Greeks used musk mallow to decorate friends’ graves.
- The musky scent of the flowers and leaves is enhanced when they are brought indoors
- Musk mallow was once an ingredient in soothing cough syrups and ointments, and it was also valued as an aphrodisiac!
- In the Victorian “Language of Flowers” it is said to be a symbol of ‘consumed by love’, persuasion, and weakness.
Irish Wildflowers Irish Wild Plants Irish Wild Flora Wildflowers of Ireland
Distinctive rosy-pink flowers and feathery leaves are the identifying features of this handsome roadside plant. A perennial plant, from June to August it bears its five-petalled flowers (3-6 cm) solitarily in leaf axils or in loose clusters. These flowers are a paler pink than those of Common Mallow – sometimes even being white – but have similarly notched slightly overlapping petals. The lower leaves are long-stalked, kidney shaped and divided but the upper leaves are deeply cut into five-to-seven narrow, feathery lobes. The plant has a musky odour as its common name might suggest. Standing about 80 cm tall, it is erect and sparsely hairy and was probably an introduction into Ireland. Its habitats are roadsides, hedgerows and well-drained field margins. It belongs to the Malvaceae family.
I first came across this lovely species in Ballyvaughan, County Clare in 2011 when I also photographed it.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre