Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tree Mallow
Lavatera assurgentiflora

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lavatera (lav-uh-TEER-uh) (Info)
Species: assurgentiflora (as-sur-jen-tih-FLOR-uh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
Fuchsia (Red-Purple)

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


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost

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

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By RichSwanner
Thumbnail #1 of Lavatera assurgentiflora by RichSwanner

By WalterT
Thumbnail #2 of Lavatera assurgentiflora by WalterT

By kdunnett
Thumbnail #3 of Lavatera assurgentiflora by kdunnett

By Kell
Thumbnail #4 of Lavatera assurgentiflora by Kell

By Kell
Thumbnail #5 of Lavatera assurgentiflora by Kell

By Kell
Thumbnail #6 of Lavatera assurgentiflora by Kell

By Kelli
Thumbnail #7 of Lavatera assurgentiflora by Kelli

There are a total of 11 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive CAGrandmama On Feb 5, 2015, CAGrandmama from Pacifica, CA wrote:

Possibly the most carefree plant that I own. I give it a little water, make sure that the drainage is good, and that's it. Flowers pop out in profusion year round in our foggy, cool San Francisco location. It reached 10 feet in less than 2 years.

We have tried time and again to find plants that will stand up to the wind and salt as we live near the ocean. I have spent hundreds of dollars on trees that died or that I transplanted in mercy, to get them out of the rough conditions. This bends and doesn't break and seems to have no diseases. The leaves are soft and rather silvery, especially when they are turned in the wind.

Our weather has about a 15 degree Fahrenheit difference between winter and summer, so we're not challenged with high heat or low temperatures. Frost is extremely rare (years apart) as are temperatures over 75 degrees in the summer. We may have a few days of 80 degree weather each summer, but that's about it.

If you live in Coastal CA, this is a great choice!

Positive natureguyfrog On Sep 18, 2010, natureguyfrog from San Diego, CA wrote:

There cannot be enough good things to be said about this plant for a wildlife garden with low water requirements! Probably would not do as a street tree only because it produces litter...( do Jacauranda trees!!!) and needs pruning to shape it as a tree.

This shrubby tree is extremely easy to grow. It thrives in poor soil...even clay. Will take summer water but must be careful not to overwater in heavy soil. Extremely fast growing and is an excellent choice for a temporary tree or tall shrub to fill in until slower growing trees or shrubs develope. Has a deep tap root system which makes it an ideal candidate for slope planting. Excellent erosion control when allowed to grow naturally with its heavy wide-spreading branches and strong root system. Seedlings sprout underneath every winter creating an erosion controlling colony of plants!

Easier to grow from seed than cuttings however both take rather long. Once established grow very rapidly!

Never stops blooming except under the harshest conditions! Please allow your plants to mature with an exposed trunk... it can truly be turned into a skulpted work of art!!!

Loved by humingbirds, Orioles, Painted Lady butterflies, small flocks of little kinglits passing by on their daily feeding route...migrating warblers searching out tiny insects. The huge volume of seed produced provides nutritious litter for many other fauna. The seedlings struggle to survive because so many critters find them delicious! I often chew on the immature seed cluster which has a somewhat Okra-like texture and flavor. Okra is a very closely related vegetable! This tree/shrub is another plant I can never do without!

[please go to Tree Mallow Purissima (Lavatera X) for some really good new stuff about the Lavatera assurgentiflora possibilities...]

I am adding an update, August 1, 2011, to furthur emphasize that this plant in its species form (Lavatera assurgentiflora) or its hybrid variants with L. venusta is an extremely desirable plant for west coastal environments. There is no tree/shrub that I know of that will grow as fast in west coastal conditions. It loves to be pruned (as long as it is actively growing) and makes an inpenetrable hedge or a small shade tree depending how it is pruned. It is short lived compared to other trees but is a great temporary "instant tree" or hedge while other trees establish.

Neutral peejay12 On Sep 1, 2010, peejay12 from Porthleven, Helston, Cornwall
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

I was lucky to get seed of this plant (difficult in Europe) and found it germinated very soon. The seedlings grew very fast - rather like Hollyhocks - and by the end of the season they were four feet tall.

I decided to overwinter the young plants in the greenhouse and planted them out in April. They rapidly reached six feet tall and began to branch out. The shrubs now looked rather like Abutilon vitifolium, but with larger deep green palmate leaves and a silver grey trunk.

I thought the flowers, when they appeared were rather disappointing. Although they were brighter coloured than other Lavatera species, they seemed very small for the size of the plant. They also were partly hidden by the huge leaves.

Next year I tried the plant again in a very poor stony soil and
gave it a high potassium feed - to encourage more flowers and fewer leaves - but the result was the same. The flowers themselves are very beautiful - bright magenta with a black centre and veining and a patch of white surrounding the black. If only they were bigger!

In the UK this plant seems to be hardy to about -5C, but it probably needs far more sunshine to flower properly in the UK.

For some reason this plant is often confused with L. maritima from southern Europe - a completely different low growing shrub with lilac flowers with a purple centre.

Positive kdunnett On Jun 11, 2004, kdunnett from Greenfield, CA wrote:

This plant grows well with little or no attention. I've successfully propagated from seed.

Positive WalterT On May 19, 2004, WalterT from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Native on some of the Channel Islands off the coast of S. California therefore can stand little frost, if any. Grows readily and rapidly from seed. Water needs are modest. Flower is jewel-like. See picture of flower and leaf on WalterT's page. Obviously picture #3 is a different plant flower, namely Lavatera maritima, a native of the western Mediterranean area. WTH.


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

Amesti, California
Carmel, California
Fairfax, California
Long Beach, California
Los Altos, California
Monterey, California
Pacifica, California
Richmond, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
San Dimas, California
San Leandro, California

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