Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mallow, French Hollyhock
Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina'

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Malva (MAL-vuh) (Info)
Species: sylvestris (sil-VESS-triss) (Info)
Cultivar: Zebrina

9 vendors have this plant for sale.

82 members have or want this plant for trade.

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18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 49 photos.
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27 positives
7 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive DIFFICuLTY On Nov 19, 2013, DIFFICuLTY from san jose
Costa Rica wrote:

I planted one of these in CR and recently found out it is half way done with its life.
It is 3 months old but will only live 6 months..

Kinda sad that it will die soon, but thats life.

Positive riverman123 On Aug 1, 2013, riverman123 from Gold Bar, WA wrote:

we planted three of these in a bunch in april of 2012. the tag said it gets 30 inches tall. oh yeah??? 30 inches??? ours reached almost 6 feet!! not to mention its overwhelming number of beautiful flowers. stunning to say the least! it only gets four hours of afternoon sun (noon to 4pm). however, we did have fungal problems. It spread from the ground up, eventually taking over the whole patch of plants. possibly caused by our cool, damp washington state spring season. looked absolutely terrible. but even then, it was still producing flowers up and down all the stems. I just now cut it down to the ground where fresh, fungus free growth is emerging. so we'll see what happens. im also curious what happens next year. I hear a lot of horror stories about spreading and self seeding. I guess we'll find out!

Positive absinthe27 On Apr 6, 2013, absinthe27 from Albertville, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

One of my favorite plants in the garden. I have mine planted in part-shade, and it is completely covered in blooms for almost the entire summer and into fall. It does self-seed quite proficiently, so be sure to pull out any seedlings you don't want when they are still small. Definitely needs staking in my garden or it becomes floppy.

Positive weidner On Jan 7, 2013, weidner from Merchantville, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:

Beautiful and FULL of blossoms. Lasts a long time here in So, Jersey near Philadelphia.Prolific bloomer. Looks a lot like Hollyhock. No fungus or other problems with diseases. In sun only from 10AM 'til Noon, yet flourishes

Positive Bill_Arnold On Dec 8, 2012, Bill_Arnold from Balmville, NY wrote:

I've found this plant to be amazingly frost hardy. Zone is 5b. My weather station recorded a night with a low of 20F (19.8) and the Zebrina hollyhocks are still green. The one near the house, which is probably a degree or two warmer, is still blooming today, December 8.
It's also reasonably abuse-hardy. Some plants discarded and thrown in the brush heap started growing. Probably a good plant for friends with black thumbs.

Neutral Gabrielle On Feb 28, 2012, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

It's size is nice and flowers are pretty, but it is prone to fungus issues. Also seeds itself a bit too freely. Blooms June-September in my garden.

Neutral crimmy On Jan 22, 2012, crimmy from Norman, OK wrote:

i have this plant...started from one little seed...and is very invasive...but it also is so hardy to with stand drought and blizzards and keeps on matter what time of year or under what kinda lucky to have flowers from this plant year round while others hibernate

Negative Redrock069 On Jun 15, 2011, Redrock069 from Oskaloosa, KS (Zone 6a) wrote:

Very invasive. I planted one of these 5 years ago. One year later seedlings were taking over my flowerbed. Worked very, very hard for two more years to irradicate and am still finding seddlings.

Positive essentialplanet On Feb 5, 2011, essentialplanet from Wilsonville, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this plant - beautiful, attracts pollinators and blooms prolifically for a very long time.

I can think of worse invasive plants for sure!

Negative soldiersong On Oct 28, 2010, soldiersong from North Plains, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

INVASIVE. I grew this from seed three years ago. Last spring I saw dozens coming up all over the garden. I pulled out the original plant and all the seedlings. This year it is back - LONG tap root, even on small seedlings. I pull and pull and pull and it comes back and back and back.

Pretty plant, but here in the Portland, Oregon area it is a pain in the neck (and back, and arms)

Positive ansonfan On Jul 29, 2010, ansonfan from Polkton, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Zebrina has done great here in 7b-8a for me. Its worth noting that some years the seedpods can be especially hard to break apart, don't know if its the heat or lack of rain. It may take a small pair of pliers to gently break the seeds apart. This plant does great with little care, but pampering with water and food really pays off both in plant and flower size and flower production.

Positive jdoucette On Nov 14, 2009, jdoucette from Brampton
Canada wrote:

It is still November (very mild weather here though). Do I need to cut this plant back when we get some cold weather?

Neutral RebeccaLynn On Oct 8, 2009, RebeccaLynn from Winston Salem, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

Two years ago I purchased a blooming Zebrina Mallow plant from a local plant nursery. Last summer healthy green leaves emerged from the ground, and I watched it every day as it grew. One morning I went out to view its progress, and all I saw was a small leafless stalk. Over the next few weeks, the same process repeated itself. Early one morning, I caught the rabbit in the act. The mallow plant didn't have a chance to bloom last summer. The same thing has happened this summer: green leaves one week and a leafless stalk the next, with Mr. Bunny close by. He doesn't seem to care for my other hollyhock plants however. Recently a hawk has taken residency in my suburban neighborhood. Maybe the hawk will take care of my problem by next summer and I will enjoy a blooming Zebrina Mallow plant again.

Positive konijntje On May 20, 2008, konijntje from Seattle, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

What a lovely plant! I submitted a post to the Plant Identification forum back in March asking for help ID'ing a "mysterious leafy green stranger" growing in a flowerbed--it was all leaves and promise then, no blooms. DG folks quickly determined that it was a zebrina hollyhock and asked me to post pix when it bloomed, so I have done so now. So happy the folks ID'd this fellow because he was 'this close' to the composter when I decided I should try to find out what he was! As others have noted, the strong winds and storms lately have torqued the two hollyhocks a bit but they stayed upright and are blooming profusely, tho' both are a bit leggy. They get full sun and minimal water and require little in the way of pampering.

Positive ntelya On Apr 13, 2008, ntelya from Lakeville, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Reliably reseeds - a classic I'd recommend for any garden (after all, Thomas Jefferson grew it at Monticello!). I started a couple plants four years ago - from them I get a drift approx five feet by one foot each summer. Soil it is in is unamended and rather poor. Not aggressive - but assertive, can easily control spreading.

Positive mbhoakct76 On Mar 21, 2008, mbhoakct76 from Winsted, CT wrote:

a great big positive. I think its one of the most gorgous plants in my garden, not only are the colors bright and striking but it also shows non stop flowering though-out the season. I have not found this to be invasive- i actually wish it would spread a bit and as of now keeps to a couple tall stalks which seem to about double every year- but still stay put in the garden. I have mini and double hollyhocks which look silimlar but by far this malva has brighter colors and is longer blooming.

Neutral macybee On Oct 13, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Malva - Mallow
This genus is made up of 30 species of annuals, biennials and perennials that originate in Europe, North Africa and Asia, but have in some cases naturalized elsewhere. The flowers are similar to but smaller than the popular Lavatera to which the malvas are related; they are single 5-petalled flowers in shades of white, pink, blue or purple. Although they may not be quite as showy as those of Lavatera, they do make attractive subjects for the border or wild garden.
These plants flourish in sunny, well-drained aspects and tend to be more robust and longer lived in not too rich soil. They are fully frost hardy. Cut plants back after the first flowers have faded. Propagate from cuttings or seed in spring; the perennials often self-seed. Watch for rust disease in spring.
Malva sylvestris -Tall Mallow, High Mallow, Cheeses
This erect perennial species grows to 3' tall, often behaving as a biennial. Its leaves are broad and heart-shaped to rounded, slightly lobed and mid- to dark green. The flowers are produced from late spring to mid-fall and in the wild form are mauve-pink with dark purple veins. Cultivars have been seleted with flower colors from pure white through blues to deep purple.
Zones 5-10

Positive Beach_Barbie On May 18, 2007, Beach_Barbie from Kure Beach, NC (Zone 9a) wrote:

Started mine from seed last spring. Did well last year, but it did suffer during the hottest months.
It didn't die back at all over the winter and now, in May, is in full bloom and a bit over 3'.
I was worried about it self-seeding excessively, but only one seedling came up.

Positive Pameliap On May 2, 2007, Pameliap from Florence, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I wintersowed this plant on January 13th, with germination January 23rd of one plant. I set out the entire container April 14th, and by the 17th had more germination around the original plant. The original plant is now blooming beautifully and I plan to carefully move the babies. So far, this plant has been a pleasure.

Neutral kevanrijn On Jan 30, 2007, kevanrijn from Parkersburg, WV (Zone 6b) wrote:

My neighbor gave me two or three of these and I transplanted them in mid-season. They have done very well in my heavy clay soil. They self-sow freely in my flower beds and have moved (on their own) from the flower bed in the front of the house to the flower bed on the side of the house. Indeed they tend to be a bit too enthusiastic and I have to thin them out vigorously each spring so they don't crowd out other, more desirable plants. Tend to need support because of height attained at times.

Positive JanLynn On Aug 29, 2006, JanLynn from (Jan) So Milw, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

Fantastic plant/flower. Love the color! Reseeds prolifically...I bought seeds originally for this but never used the seeds! I "inherited" the plant from my neighbor who "inherited" it from her neighbor and, last year I shared this plant with another neighbor. Very dependable, drought hardy, grows in sun or part-shade, doesn't need "coddling" (thrives more on neglect...).


Positive 4paws On Aug 28, 2006, 4paws from Citra, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I saved seeds from a plant I had in 2002 in WI which was about 5' tall, and finally was able to plant them this spring. They grew beautifully, and have been blooming for weeks now. Even if they don't overwinter, the ease of germination and the profusion of blooms the first year will give these a solid place in my purple dominated yard.

Positive Drido On Aug 21, 2006, Drido from Heredia
Costa Rica (Zone 11) wrote:

I have this plant but only in one place of my garden it blooms, and it is a little bit invasive. The plants that are full sunrays grows bigger but no flowers and are majority, while the ones that are under shade they flower very early. Its very hardy here in Costa Rica.

Neutral BamaBelle On Aug 8, 2006, BamaBelle from Headland, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Blooms are white with dark purple throats, anthers and stamen. The purple veins out as if stroked on with a paint brush.

Fertilize monthly and remove old blooms to encourage additional blooms. May need to provide support. You can allow them to self seed for the following year, if desired, but flowers may not be true.

Positive jackstangle On Jul 26, 2006, jackstangle from La Conner, WA wrote:

This is a beautiful plant, grows 6-8 feet tall, blooms like crazy & doesnt need water...... BUT it spreads like crazy so lookout! Put it where it can go wild.

Positive zville123 On Jul 1, 2006, zville123 from Zanesville, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is my first year gardening and this plant is a wonder to behold! Always in bloom with little maintenance needed! Definitely a bright spot in my garden. Next year, I plan to check out other varieties of malva.

Positive pookerella On Jun 11, 2006, pookerella from Bellmore, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Re: the first post, I am in what is now considered zone 7a (used to be 6b) and I couldn't winter this plant! It dies, you cut it back, and it grows back profusely next spring! Just a gorgeous plant. I purchased one that wasn't very happy about being replanted into the ground, but I tended to it and it rewarded me greatly this spring. It grows predominantly straight and is also a creeper, but will not harm or block any plants in its area. This plant loves water, but will tolerate drier conditions. Once established it is very hearty and even if the main section dies, its horizontal roots will allow it to spring up in numerous other places. A beautiful purple joy! :)

Positive DawninTx On Mar 14, 2006, DawninTx from Nevada, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

have grown this malva for many years. It has pretty light purple flowers with darker stripes and nice foliage. It is bi-annual and self seeds easily. Grows to 3 to 4 feet in full sun or part shade. I usually cut back gangly tops after going to seed, and blooms continue until hit by a freeze. It has no pest problems and is heat and drought tolerant. This is one tough little plant.

Positive julie88 On Oct 17, 2005, julie88 from Muscoda, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

2005 I sowed the seeds outside in containers during the winter. As it was the first time I'd grown any malva, I was surprised when it not only germinated but began to bloom in mid-June. Flowers the *first* year after sowing! Amazing!

These little plants grew like troopers for me in very difficult conditions. They got only the extremely hot sun in the afternoon and, because of severe dought, they got very little extra water. In spite of the situation, they bloomed beautifully.

It's now mid October and the plants have long since gone to seed. I've saved some, but after checking the beds find that I've got lots of seedlings cropping up around my original plants.

I will sow a container or two again this winter to replace those I've grown this if they don't make it...and if they do, I'll more to put in other beds and to give as gifts.

Definitely worth trying.

Neutral lmelling On Jan 17, 2005, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is a beautiful plant when healthy and in the right conditions, but I find it a bit too persnickety to grow here in my garden due to our fluctuating summers (both heat and the amount of sun). Ithaca is not a place that receives sunny, hot summers as a rule - although we do get one once in a while.

The first year I grew this I had it in the garden where it recieved sun all day except for the hottest part of the afternoon; in amended/clay soil that was moist but well-drained. It did wonderfully the whole summer, that year, but did not appear to reseed itself. The next summer I purchased and planted in the same spot, but the plant only lasted through June before slowly withering away. Repeated attempts in various spots over the next few years made me decide that while this is a most garden-worthy plant in some, it just wasn't in my garden.

While I still think this plant is beautiful when happy, I'm giving it a neutral rating as there are many other more reliable perennials that I can grow that are just as pretty, and which adapt to various temps and conditions.

Positive LilyLover_UT On Jan 16, 2005, LilyLover_UT from Ogden, UT (Zone 5b) wrote:

This lovely flower self-sows prolifically for me, and it can also be direct sown in the fall or started indoors in the spring. It's usually perennial, but any plants that die are replaced by many seedlings.

Positive Joan On Oct 12, 2004, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Gorgeous, fast growing plant for me from seed, but it will not overwinter for me in zone 4. I save seeds and replant it each spring because I love it that much. I also get volunteer plants from seed that dropped the previous year. It's easy and very pretty.

Positive OhioBreezy On Jun 2, 2004, OhioBreezy from Dundee, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Love this plant! I had a friend give me seeds in 1994 and have saved seed from my original plants ever since. Easy to start from seed. Also re-seeds. Can winter over here in my zone 5-6 if near a house or protected area. The blooms go on and on...... it just keeps producing flowers from bottom of stem till it reaches the tip top. Nice foliage too.

Positive takethyme On Apr 1, 2004, takethyme from Ocala, FL wrote:

I'm on the southern border of zone 8B. This plant has done well for me in an area that gets afternoon sun- a "plus" in my garden. When our heat/humidity finally take their toll, it self-seeds so I have plants later in the season. I haven't noticed it bothered by any pests.

Positive DebbieJV On Jul 17, 2003, DebbieJV from Wichita, KS wrote:

This plant has an exceptional spring bloom, looking wonderful! Then the Kansas summer heat takes its toll and the plant looks pretty sad until fall, when it recovers. But the eye-catching spring bloom has drawn neighborhood compliments for several blocks around. I started with 2-3 transplants about 3 years ago which have self-sowed into a huge patch.

Positive Weezingreens On Nov 24, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

After attempting to winter this plant over in my zone 3 climate, I finally gave up and decided it is also an excellent perennial to grow as an annual. It grows well and produces profuse blooms within the first year, so I just plant it indoors each spring and set it after last frost.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Albertville, Alabama
Midland City, Alabama
Alameda, California
El Cajon, California
Hoopa, California
Lemon Grove, California
Menifee, California
Merced, California
Sacramento, California
San Leandro, California
Delta, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Winsted, Connecticut
Ellendale, Delaware
Brooksville, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Wauchula, Florida
Douglasville, Georgia
Gainesville, Georgia
Glen Carbon, Illinois
Ladd, Illinois
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Greenville, Indiana
Muncie, Indiana
Davenport, Iowa
Nichols, Iowa
Oskaloosa, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Brusly, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Columbia, Maryland
Fort Washington, Maryland
Pikesville, Maryland
Dracut, Massachusetts
Charlevoix, Michigan
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Grand Haven, Michigan
Livonia, Michigan
Warren, Michigan
West Olive, Michigan
Ada, Minnesota
Albertville, Minnesota
Glencoe, Minnesota
Lakeville, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Pierz, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Florence, Mississippi
Omaha, Nebraska
Denville, New Jersey
Merchantville, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
La Luz, New Mexico
Tijeras, New Mexico
Bellmore, New York
Brooklyn, New York
Ithaca, New York
Newburgh, New York
Wallkill, New York
Waterford, New York
Ellenboro, North Carolina
Holly Ridge, North Carolina
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Lake Toxaway, North Carolina
Polkton, North Carolina
Warrensville, North Carolina
West End, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Medora, North Dakota
Akron, Ohio
Bucyrus, Ohio
Columbia Station, Ohio
Dundee, Ohio
Warren, Ohio
Zanesville, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
North Plains, Oregon
Tygh Valley, Oregon
Wilsonville, Oregon
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Coopersburg, Pennsylvania
Osceola, Pennsylvania
Tionesta, Pennsylvania
Columbia, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Fort Mill, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Columbia, Tennessee
Lafayette, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Belton, Texas
Bryan, Texas
Buffalo, Texas
Colleyville, Texas
Flower Mound, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Iredell, Texas
Lubbock, Texas
Midland, Texas
Nevada, Texas
San Augustine, Texas
Magna, Utah
Tremonton, Utah
Linden, Virginia
Gold Bar, Washington
Kalama, Washington
La Conner, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Falling Waters, West Virginia
Parkersburg, West Virginia
Beloit, Wisconsin
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2 reports)
Muscoda, Wisconsin
South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Casper, Wyoming

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