The mallow can serve as an eye-catcher on the balcony and terrace and is an edible decoration on the salad. Despite all its optical advantages, the mallow is very frugal and undemanding to look after. And therefore ideal for everyone who wants to enjoy their plants – without having to put in a lot of effort.

The sowing of the mallow

Mallow seeds can be easily obtained from fully grown plants on the one hand and very easily grown on the other. It is sufficient to sow the seeds directly in the bed, slightly covered. The ideal time for this is April. In this way, however, flowers usually do not show up until the following year. If you want to go a little faster, moving forward in the house is the better choice.

The preculture can take place from February when the young plants are adequately protected and warm. When the rungs have reached a height of 8 cm, which corresponds to about the width of a hand, they can be pricked out. Pricking or singling out the plants is important for healthy growth. From April to May, the previously grown mallows can then be planted on the balcony or in the flowerbed.

  • Mallow seeds can be obtained very easily
  • Direct sowing and planting outdoors from April
  • Pre-culture in the house possible from February
  • Prick out from a plant height of 8cm
Tip: If you don’t have to prick out the mallow but still want to grow strong and healthy plants, you should choose the smallest possible growing pots and sow the seeds individually.

Plant healthily – the right location for the mallow 

Mallows like the sun, but they tolerate light shade just as well. Nutrient-rich soil, which is dry to slightly damp and contains a small amount of lime, is ideal as a substrate. The soil chosen should also be permeable and well ventilated, because the mallow does not tolerate persistent waterlogging. Complete drying out of the soil must be avoided in exactly the same way.

A protected place is suitable as a location, where neither strong wind nor heavy rain can affect the plants. The tall mallow species in particular need climbing and planting aids as additional support.
If you make sure that the soil is free of peat, nothing stands in the way of flowering.

  • Peat-free soil substrate
  • Nutrient-rich, well-drained soil
  • Sunny to partially shaded location
  • Small amounts of lime should be included
  • location protected from strong weather
  • possibly planting or climbing aid

How much space do mallow trees need?

Of the 30 or so species of mallow, there are smaller plants, such as the common mallow, but also very high editions, such as the beautiful mallow. While the common mallow is only about 60cm high, the beautiful mallow reaches over 200cm. When selecting the respective species of mallow, you should therefore ensure that there is enough space above. This question is of particular interest if the mallow is to be placed on the balcony or terrace.
Depending on the species, the planting distance must also be selected. Most mallows can stand in small groups of up to five plants or even be used as a continuous border of the bed. Particularly lush species of mallow, which also grow strongly in height, should be planted 30 to 60 cm apart. Sufficient distance is necessary so that the individual plants can grow vigorously and undisturbed.

Tip: As a rule of thumb, the higher the plant, the greater the planting distance.

Care for the mallow

Care for the mallow

As great as the variety of mallow species is, they all have very little maintenance in common. The robust, small mallow need the right location and occasional fertilization only water to grow vigorously and show full bloom.

Higher species are a little more complex to care for. They also need protection from wind and rain, a climbing aid and usually more fertilizer than their little relatives.

Water mallow properly

Mallows do not tolerate waterlogging, but a slightly moist substrate is preferable to dry one in any case. Because even the dry roots can really damage the plants. Depending on the selected substrate, the location and the current weather conditions, watering has to be carried out daily or just every few weeks. Here it is better to water as needed than according to a fixed schedule.

Tip: If the mallow has plenty of humus-rich soil and is only watered in the evening, the amount of water required and the frequency of watering can be significantly reduced.

Fertilize – help the mallow to achieve its full beauty

Compost, horse manure or liquid fertilizer for flowering plants – mallows are not picky about fertilizers. A nettle brew can also help to achieve full beauty. And at the same time scares off one or the other type of pest.
How often and how much fertilization is required depends on the mallow species and the substrate. Every two to four weeks is ideal.

Repot and transfer mallow.

Even perennial mallow species only need to be repotted or repotted every few years, if at all. Exceptions are buckets that are becoming too small and infestation with pests or diseases. In these cases, changing the earth and using a larger bucket can help.

  • Mallows only need to be repotted and repotted every two to three years
  • Fresh substrate after a disease or an infestation with pests strengthens the plant
  • Pay attention to pots that are becoming too small, if the plant is no longer secure, a larger pot must be used

Seeds of the mallow

Obtain the seeds of the mallow

Obtaining seeds from the mallow is just as easy as sowing and growing the plants. All you have to do is leave withered flowers on the plant. If these are not cut off, fruits will form as a result. These contain one seed per fruit capsule.

Tip: If you want to preserve annual plants, you should use the last flowers in September or October to obtain the seeds. The seeds of hardy mallow can also be sown directly back into the ground and then sprout on their own in spring.


Some species of mallow are hardy and perennial, others are annual and cannot tolerate even short frosts.
For hardy mallows in the garden, a thin protection is sufficient. A layer of straw or garden fleece is sufficient. However, potted plants on the balcony or terrace should be allowed to overwinter indoors. If these are in the cellar, the thermometer must not drop below 0 ° C here either. Around 8 ° C is ideal.

Wilted flowers – remove or not?
If the mallow is to show numerous flowers and keep sprouting new ones, removing the dried out flowers is a must. If these are not removed, the mallow will form fruits. It takes a lot of energy and requires a lot of energy. Energy that is then no longer put into the abundance of flowers.

But if you want to collect seeds of your favorite mallow so that you can plant them again as an eye-catcher or multiply them next year, you have to forego the blossoms by September at the latest. Because, as already mentioned, the seed-containing fruits only develop if the dried-up flowers are left on the plant.

Do mallows have to be blended?
In the case of annual mallow, blending is usually not necessary. However, perennial species are thereby helped to a dense, lush growth. And bald stems are also avoided.
Whether the blending is radical or just shaping depends on the type of mallow. Mallows that are somewhat lignified may be cut back completely. Plants with softer stems, on the other hand, should only be trimmed carefully.

Mallows can be blended in spring and autumn. Spring should be preferred in very cold winters.

  • Blending possible and sometimes necessary, depending on the type of mallow
  • The time for cutting should be in spring or autumn.
  • Plants cut back to a hand’s width in autumn need more protection in winter.
Tip: It is better to cut in spring before the plant sprouts. Because the additional leaves provide protection in winter.

Caution – mallow in children and animals
Some species of mallow, such as the common mallow, tend to store large amounts of nitrite. If parts of this plant are ingested by children or pets, this can lead to symptoms of poisoning. In these cases, a doctor or veterinarian should be consulted immediately.When buying and sowing, care should therefore be taken to ensure that they are not potentially poisonous variants.

The mallow as an edible and medicinal plant

Some species of mallow are edible. This applies to flowers, leaves and fruits. The flowers and leaves can be made into a tea or used as a delicious and unusual decoration on the salad.
The fruits have a pleasant nutty taste, but their harvest is difficult and tedious due to their small size.

Mallow can also be used as a medicinal plant. The tea obtained from it has a soothing and expectorant effect, helps with sore throats, coughs and hoarseness. The tea does not have to be drunk in every case. Gargling with the infusion also improves the situation. It should be noted, however, that mallow can influence the effects of other drugs. A doctor should therefore be consulted before use.

Mallow diseases and pests

Diseases and pests

The pleasant scent of the mallow attracts insects. However, mostly only beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. Pests are therefore rarely fatal to the mallow.

However, it is not so immune to disease. Mallow rust, in particular, occurs frequently in plants and must be treated immediately if it is not to spread to all mallows. The mallow rust is a fungus that causes reddish brown spots on the leaves and reduced growth.

If the infestation only occurs on one plant, the affected areas should be removed immediately. It may also be necessary to remove and dispose of the entire plant. If the mallow rust has already progressed in several plants, only a pesticide with an anti-fungal effect will help.

  • Mallow pests seldom attack them.
  • Mallow rust is common, shows up as rusty brown spots, and is difficult to treat.

Mallows are easy-care flowering plants that are just as impressive as delicate beauties in the natural garden as they are on luxury beds, balconies and patios. They have few demands and are therefore also suitable for people who do not have a green thumb. And due to their great diversity of species, they also offer a variety of shapes and sizes, so that the right mallow can always be found. Those who also rely on edible species have not only gained an enrichment for the optics, but also for health and the palate.

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