Malva, Mallow, French Hollyhock 'Zebrina'

Malva sylvestris

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Malva (MAL-vuh) (Info)
Species: sylvestris (sil-VESS-triss) (Info)
Cultivar: Zebrina
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

Magenta (pink-purple)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Albertville, Alabama

Midland City, Alabama

Barling, Arkansas

Alameda, California

Big Bear Lake, California

Citrus Heights, California

El Cajon, California

Granite Hills, California

HOOPA, California

Harbison Canyon, California

Lemon Grove, California

Menifee, California

Merced, California

Rancho San Diego, California

Sacramento, California

San Leandro, California

Delta, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Winsted, Connecticut

Ellendale, Delaware

Brooksville, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Wauchula, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

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

Dallas, 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

Arlington, Washington

Arlington Heights, Washington

Gold Bar, Washington

Kalama, Washington

La Conner, Washington

Oso, Washington

Smokey Point, 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 2, 2017, Adrienneny from New Jersey 6b, NJ wrote:

No wonder there are so many reviews about this plant. It is has a gorgeous flower and bloomed early spring. I grew it easily from seed late in the season last year and it stayed green all winter. It started to flower very early in spring and kept putting out multiple flowers until around mid June. Then it became quite weedy and high leaf to flower ratio so I removed it. It was nice in spring though.


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.


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'l... read more


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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!


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)


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.


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?


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 pl... read more


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.


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.


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.


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 fo... read more


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.


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.


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.


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...).



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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! :)


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.


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 thi... read more


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 t... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.