Lavatera adds a romantic note to the garden with its flowers that resemble hibiscus or mini hollyhock blossoms. Lavatera sports an abundance of flowers in jewel-tone shades. This easy-growing plant works well in large containers or the back of a border.
Although it does not have the diverse mix of colors you find in hollyhocks, lavatera offers flowers in pinks, purples, and whites. Many of these colors also have beautiful striations of deeper tones, and some boast dark eyes in the center of the flowers. Lavatera begins its season in mid-summer and continues to bloom until frost. No matter where you plant it in the garden, lavatera takes center-stage when its stems are laden with blossoms. This plant is also a good option for a quick space filler, because of all the lush, bushy growth it puts on in one growing season.
Lavatera Care Must-Knows
Like its close cousin the hollyhock, lavatera is easy to grow. However, it does not like hot, humid summer weather. It prefers well-drained soil with even moisture. If it is kept too wet, it is likely to rot; too dry and the plant will also suffer.
If you are planning on growing lavatera from seed, it is important to know that this plant has an extensive root system that does not like to be disturbed. It is best to sow lavatera seed directly in the ground where you want it to grow. If you want to get an early start on flowers, you can sow seeds in advance indoors. Make sure to use a biodegradable pot, like a peat pot, so you won't disturb the sensitive roots.
Lavatera should be planted in full sun for the most prolific flowers and strongest plants. Because it is such a fast grower, lavatera is prone to flopping if grown in too much shade. You can also remedy this by pruning it on occasion to help encourage good branching and to keep it on the shorter side. While full sun is ideal for flower production, part shade may be beneficial in warmer climates to help keep the plant cooler during warm summers.