The peak of spring is behind us, but there are still many flowers in bloom, and today we recommend a visit to the Mediterranean section in the northern part of the garden, to view the Bicolor Tree-Mallow – Lavatera maritima.
The Bicolor Tree-Mallow is an evergreen shrub, that originates in the western Mediterranean basin, from Italy to Spain and from Algeria to Morocco, where it grows in rocky seaside habitats. The Bicolor Tree-Mallow has large (7-8 cm) impressive flowers. The petals are pink with a violet center and veins. They remind us of another plant from the same family – the Rose-Mallow (Hibiscus) that is a common cultivar. The Tree Mallow shrub is about 1.5 m tall, and has a fast growth rate.
The Bicolor Tree-Mallow has a long blooming period, from the end of spring through the summer. When it grows in semi-shaded locations, it can keep blooming sporadically throughout the year.
The long flowering season, and the fact that the shrub is xerophytic, make this a recommended plant for water-conserving gardens.
Sima Kagan of the Volcani Center adds that the Bicolor Tree-Mallow can be easily reproduced by means of rooting cuttings.
The Lavatera and the Malva genera, locally known as “Hubeiza”, are closely related genera. There are those who include most of the Lavatera species, including this one, under the genus Malva, but we haven’t accepted this decision.
The impressive Bicolor Tree-Mallow is in full bloom this month, and we invite you to come and enjoy it, together with many other Mediterranean shrubs in the garden!
Written by: Yael Orgad, May 2019