Sunday, February 13, 2011
Zebra Mallow is also known as Mallow- Hollyhock and Striped Mallow. The scientific name for this perennial is Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina'. This is a smaller cousin to the hollyhock and hibiscus family.
This is an old fashioned favorite with spikes of single 2-inch lavender flowers with purple stripes. They somewhat resemble hollyhocks, but are bushier and have smaller flowers and leaves. They will flower the first year and are good in perennial borders or for a quick tall edging. It is a little weedy for formal borders.
Height 2-4 ft Space 24" apart Bloom All summer Light Full sun to part shade Soil Average, well-drained Zone Zone 5 Feature Attracts butterflies, drought tolerant
If you are looking for a perennial that is beautiful and has low maintenance, then consider this plant.
Start your own seedlings indoors in late winter or early spring, depending on your climate. Fill your flat with potting soil or seedling mix. Plant one seed in each cell at about 1/8 inch deep. Set your flat in a sunny window or under grow lights (my preferred method), and keep them moist. Don't let them dry out. When the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, you can transplant them into 4 inch pots until they are ready to plant outdoors.
Note for colder climate gardeners: To ensure blooming plants the following summer, I scatter hollyhock seeds in my flower gardens in the fall. If I do this early enough that the seeds sprout and develop into seedlings, the plant over-winters and comes up again in the spring to produce flowers during the summer months.