Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tree Mallow
Lavatera maritima 'Bicolor'

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lavatera (lav-uh-TEER-uh) (Info)
Species: maritima (muh-RIT-tim-muh) (Info)
Cultivar: Bicolor

Synonym:Lavatera bicolor

One vendor has this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

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:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 20 photos.
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8 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive walknencyc On Jan 27, 2012, walknencyc from Huntington Beach, CA wrote:

My husband and I bought our first tree mallow about 10 years ago. We planted it in a giant terra cotta pot on our patio, just a few feet from the family room bay window. Our little Lavatera flowered almost year round here in Huntington Beach, Ca., though it was always a little scraggly looking. What we loved most about it was how much the hummingbirds took to it ! We had our backyard totally redone three years ago, and transplanted the lavatera in our specially blended garden soil in our new river rock planters. That little tree took off and flowered like never before! Sadly, my son and I pruned it back, as it was taking over. We believe the unusually cold weather and pruning combination did it in. I do have two small seedlings that started from the original tree, and went in search of a larger one this week. I planted the replacement this afternoon. We're keeping our fingers crossed !

Positive peejay12 On Apr 5, 2010, peejay12 from Porthleven, Helston, Cornwall
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

I love this plant, although the colours are too soft for many people. This plant is sometimes mistaken for Lavatera clementii 'Barnsley', a much hardier, but rather short-lived plant.

The flowers are much neater than the flowers of L clementii, pale lilac with a dark veining. The flowers have a long staminal tube, like a hibiscus. It flowers for much longer than L. clementii -- in the UK it flowers for five or six months. It is much less hardy than the common Lavatera species -- my plants lived for seven years, but were killed when we had a frost of -7C.
If you think a hard frost is likely, wrap protective netting around the lower 12'' of the plant, and the plant will regrow in the spring - if the frost was not too severe.

Lavateras are easy-going plants and tend to get neglected, and this may cause die-back (brown marks on the stems and sudden wilting of some leaves and stems). Leaf hoppers and spider mite are also a common pest on these plants . Removing dead wood,clearing away dead leaves from the soil below the plant, weeding, feeding, mulching, and spraying with a pesticide and a fungicide will all extend its life and improve their appearance.
A beautiful plant which should be used more often

Positive annlof On Jan 17, 2010, annlof from Camarillo, CA wrote:

Squiggly lines on the leaves are probably caused by leaf-miners, which are harmless, if unattractive. In Southern California, this plant flowers almost year round with very little supplemental water. Plants usually need to be replaced every five years, but as they grow to 6' in one season, it's not a hardship.

Neutral dillansnana On Aug 11, 2009, dillansnana from Hemet, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I think the tree mallow is the one I have. Plant is growing well, however right now the leaves have a squiggly lines on them, like snails or something has been on them. Any suggestions on what to do to elliminate this problem?
Thanks for any and all help.
Sylvia Kinnee, Hemet,Ca

Positive WebInt On Aug 7, 2006, WebInt from Vista, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Fast growth makes up for short life span. Like most Mallows, it can get thin with size. Regular pruning results in a dense plant. I have found that if planted in partial shade and if pruned to become dense, it attracts whitefly in SoCal (Go figure). Probably came over from the neighbors Hibiscus.

Great background plant in beds due to regular flowering.

Positive Chuck1260 On Mar 22, 2005, Chuck1260 from Arroyo Grande, CA wrote:

Grows very well in Arroyo Grande in poor soil. Deer love it. Flowers most of the year. It can stand heavy pruning.

Positive deg909 On Oct 6, 2004, deg909 from Alta Loma, CA wrote:

Beautiful in So.Cal Inland (USGS 9, Sunset 19). I have had great luck: have grown it in full sun, part shade, full (but bright) shade. Maratima Bicolor has transplanted well, needs much less water than other lavateras. Mine bloom 10-12 months per year.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 28, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is a large mounding evergreen shrub that grows to 6-8 feet tall and 8-12 feet wide. The gray-green leaves are palmately lobed. The light lavender/pink flowers have lavender centers and lavender veins radiating from the centers. These flowers bloom year-round and the peak bloom period is early spring to late fall. Plant in sun or part shade, water moderately.

Positive hanna1 On Jul 4, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

i have 3 of them against a sundrenched wood fencel, 6ft tall by 6ft across, the 2 that get the most pruning are the bushiest ones, i have to trim them occasionaly as I think they would get much larger. But it's flowers are sooo atractive, and keep blooming all year. Spring/summer is the best show. Very little water is needed. the soil is alkaline, hard clay and rocky.

Positive RichSwanner On Dec 27, 2003, RichSwanner from Citrus Heights, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This a very hardy plant. It takes the cold 20 to 25F. Flowers almost like a hibiscus. Flowers all the time, and continues to offer a much needed reminder of warmer days. I tend to have winter flowering plants around for this reason.This is in the Malvacae family(hibiscus. alyogyne huegelii,etc).


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

Amesti, California
Berkeley, California
Carpinteria, California
Castro Valley, California
Citrus Heights, California
Crescent City, California
Fairfield, California
Fremont, California
Huntington Beach, California
Martinez, California
Oceanside, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
San Leandro, California
Santa Rosa, California
Sonoma, California
Spring Valley, California
Turlock, California
Vista, California
West Sacramento, California
Astoria, Oregon
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Ocean Shores, Washington
Seattle, Washington

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