Lavatera

Plant this bushy annual in full sun for the best flower show.

In This Article
View All
In This Article

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.

Lavatera Overview

Genus Name Lavatera
Common Name Lavatera
Plant Type Annual, Perennial
Light Sun
Height 3 to 8 feet
Width 2 to 6 feet
Flower Color Pink, Purple, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Seed

Colorful Combinations

Although it doesn't 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 doesn't 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.

Like its close cousin, the hollyhock, lavatera is easy to grow. However, it doesn't 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're planning on growing lavatera from seed, you should know this plant has an extensive root system that doesn't like to be disturbed, so it's 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. 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 most robust plants. However, because it's such a fast grower, lavatera is prone to flopping if grown in the shade. You can remedy flopping 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.

More Varieties of Lavatera

'Mont Rose' lavatera

'Mont Rose' lavatera
Peter Krumhardt

Lavatera 'Mont Rose' bears soft-pink flowers on a compact 3-foot-tall plant.

'Mont Blanc' lavatera

'Mont Blanc' lavatera
Laurie Dickson

This variety of Lavatera bears pure-white flowers on a compact 2-foot-tall plant.

Malva rose

Lavatera assurgentiflora Malva rose
Denny Schrock

Lavatera assurgentiflora, an evergreen shrub in coastal climates, has red-and-white-striped flowers that are 2-3 inches across. The plant tolerates salt spray and coastal challenges with ease. It grows 6-10 feet tall

Tree mallow

Lavatera bicolor Tree mallow
Denny Schrock

Lavatera maritima is a fast-growing shrub that reaches 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide in short order. Its pink to white flowers are up to 3 inches across. Zones 6-8

'Silver Cup' lavatera

'Silver Cup' lavatera
Eric Roth

This Lavatera selection has big pink flowers with darker veins on a compact 3-foot-tall plant.

'Pink Blush' lavatera

'Pink Blush' lavatera
Matthew Benson

Lavatera trimestris 'Pink Blush' has spectacular large blooms of bright blush pink that cover the 3-foot-tall plants from summer until fall.

Lavatera Companion Plants

Spider Flower

Cleome Spider Flower
Matthew Benson

Amazingly, the tall, dramatic spider flower is only an annual. Once temperatures warm up, it zooms to 4 feet or more very quickly and produces large balls of flowers with fascinating long seedpods that whirl out from it. Be aware that the flowers shatter easily after a few days when cut for vases.

Spider flower typically self-seeds prolifically, so you only have to plant it once. Plant established seedlings in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Cleome does best in moderately rich, well-drained soil. Be careful about fertilizing, or you'll have extremely tall floppy plants. Group in clusters of 6 or more for best effect.

Because it develops surprisingly large thorns, it's best to keep spider flower away from walkways.

Dahlia

2 Dark Red Dahlias
Jim Krantz

Nothing beats a dahlia for summer color. Growing these varied, spiky flowers is like having a box of garden crayons at your disposal. The flowers form on branching, fleshy stems or open in solitary splendor on the bedding-plant types in mid-to-late summer. Several flower categories, from the petite mignonettes to the gigantic dinner-plate dahlias, offer possibilities for any space.

Expert dahlia growers recommend pinching off the first crop of side flower buds to encourage vigorous plant branching and larger flowers in peak season. All dahlias are fodder for brilliant seasonal cut bouquets and are always one of the most popular cut flowers at local farmer's markets. Their blooming season extends into fall and is only halted by the first frost. Gardeners in climates colder than Zone 8 should cut back the withered foliage after the first frost and dig up tubers to store over winter.

To get a fast start for dahlia plants before it's safe to plant outdoors, pot the tubers up, water sparingly, and grow in a sunny location until sprouts appear. Then transplant outdoors after the last frost.

Moonflower

White Moonflower Datura
Mike Jensen

Moonflower is one of the most romantic plants you can grow in your garden. It's a statuesque, ideal evening-garden plant bearing large trumpet-shaped flowers that unfurl when the sun goes down (or on overcast days) and stay open until it rises. Some are sweetly fragrant when open. This beautiful plant is also very heat- and drought-resistant.

Plant outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Give it moderate moisture and fertilizer. You can also train it into a treelike plant along a stake, especially in a large container. Unfortunately, Datura reseeds freely to the point of being invasive in some conditions.

Beware: It's quite poisonous, especially the seeds.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles