Lavatera, also known as rose mallow, is an annual plant that reseeds itself if bare ground is available. The plant is native to Europe and is found now throughout North America. Lavatera requires growing space as it becomes bushy with a height of 3 to 5 feet and width of 2 to 3 feet. The plant blooms profusely, producing white and pink flowers in the summer and fall seasons. Lavatera makes a decorative hedge or border in areas where you are willing to assist with reseeding.
Choose a location for the lavatera plant with access to full sun or partial shade conditions and a soil that is well drained and nutrient rich. Plant the seedlings outdoors at a depth of 3 to 4 inches and placed 3 feet apart, or sow seeds on bare ground in the spring.
Work compost into the soil at the time of planting if the nutrient value or moisture retention is poor.
Water lavatera plants regularly after planting to stimulate root growth. Continue to water the plants in summer conditions where the rainfall is less than one inch per week. Lavatera plants tolerate moisture well and are able to withstand the ground drying out prior to watering.
Fertilising is not needed if compost has been added to the soil at planting. A standard annual flower fertiliser can be applied if the plants are yellowing or not producing flowers.
Place a light layer of mulch around the plants to assist with moisture retention. A heavy layer of mulch will prevent the plant from reseeding itself. Remove mulch in the fall, before the seeds fall off, to assist with reseeding.
Remove seeds in the fall if you want to propagate them indoors during the late winter months. Allow the seeds to dry and store them in a dry paper envelope or bag. Do not store them in plastic bags.
Seeds may retain moisture and not germinate if stored in plastic bags. It is difficult to transplant lavatera plants, as they have an extensive underground root system. Propagate seeds and grow new plants by seeding the area in spring.