Malva moschata or musk mallow as it is often more commonly referred to due to the basal leaves having a slightly musky scent, is probably one of Britain's prettiest native wild flowers.
A deciduous, hardy perennial in most parts of the United Kingdom and with rounded leaves, the foliage is delicate and almost fern like. Musk mallow flowers from mid-summer through to early autumn with a succession of the prettiest, fairly large, saucer shaped flowers in the most delicate of pale pinks, a delightful sight in any herbaceous border.
Easy to grow and requiring no maintenance, musk mallow has a bushy habit and will grow in most moist but well drained soils, although a rich soil can make it liable to flopping.
Plants are available from most good garden centres with the variety 'Rosea', probably the prettiest of them all with its deep pink flowers, whilst f. alba is a delightful albino variety. Seeds can also be purchased from garden centres for those who wish to have a go at raising some themselves.
Attractive to bees, musk mallow is ideal for flower beds and borders, wildlife and wild flower gardens or for low maintenance, informal and cottage gardens.
How to Grow & Plant Malva Moschata
Suitable for planting in most, moist but well drained garden soil, avoid rich soils to prevent the plant from flopping. They like and do best in full sun in either a sheltered or exposed position.
How to Grow Malva Moschata from Seed
Indoor sowing is best carried out in a cold frame between February to June or September to October. The seeds should be sown in pots or trays on the surface of a compost that has been pre-soaked and drained. Cover the seeds with a light dusting of compost and then place in a cold frame, ensuring the compost is kept moist but not waterlogged. Germination is quite quick and normally takes between seven to twenty-one days.
As soon as the seedling become large enough to handle transplant into three inch pots for growing on, ensuring you handle the seedlings by their leaves and not the stem. Plant out in early summer to their final growing positions with spacing's of about twenty inches between each plant.
Musk mallow can also be sown directly outdoors where they are to grow between April and May. Prepare the soil well first, raking to a fine tilth and then scatter the seeds. Rake lightly, firming down well and keep the area well-watered, but ensure you don't over water and drown the seeds. Remove any competing weeds as they appear and as soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle thin out to about eighteen inches apart, discarding any weak ones.
How to Care for Malva Moschata
Requiring very little maintenance, dead head as required and tidy up the old foliage and stems by cutting back to the basal foliage in spring.
How to Propagate Malva Moschata
Propagation can be by either basal cuttings or seed, which can be collected in the late summer.
Pests and Diseases
Musk mallow is generally pest and disease free although it can be subject to leaf spot and rust disease
Soil: Most moist and well-drained soil, although rich soil is best avoided
Position: Full sun in a sheltered or exposed position
Height & Spread: 36 inches x 24 inches
Flowering Period: June to September