Pharmacists sell the root of the effective plant mainly for coughs or hoarseness – but owners of cottage gardens in particular also cultivate marshmallow in their own green area. There the plant, which is assigned to the mallow family, has a particularly decorative effect. – Not least because of its white or pink petals, which are arranged in loose clusters around the up to 150m high stem. The plant is widespread in Europe, as well as in Siberia and the Mediterranean region. Easy to care for and robust, the marshmallow, also known as velvet poplar, can also be cultivated by beginners.


So that the marshmallow can thrive well, both the location and the soil should be carefully selected. The plant feels particularly comfortable in sunny areas of the garden. In addition, locations that are in the light penumbra are tolerated. You should also make sure that the selected place has a windbreak.

Due to its stately size, the marshmallow can be used well as a background plant; but the plant also has a decorative effect in the context of herbal borders. Here the plant can be used either individually or in a small group. Alternatively, cultivation on fences and along the way is possible. Since wild populations of the marshmallow thrive particularly well in damp, salty meadows, the plant can also be used in the home garden to plant pond edges. Overall, planting is worthwhile, especially in natural gardens or cottage gardens. Here the marshmallow can either be planted in the open space or cultivated in a bucket. The plant is also important as an important bee forage plant. It can therefore be used in a bee pasture.


When choosing the right soil on which the plant can develop well, you should consider different aspects. In terms of nutrient richness, the substrate used should have the following properties:

  • fumes
  • rich in nutrients
  • fruitful

When choosing the substrate, the moisture content also plays a major role. Fresh to moist soil, which should not dry out, is best suited for the cultivation of marshmallow. A certain amount of salt in the soil is helpful, but not absolutely necessary; in the wild, the marshmallow feels particularly at home on salty soil near the coast. The substrate should be sandy-loamy or sandy-gravelly soil. Ideally, the substrate also has a pH between 8 and 10. A soil that is as deep as possible is important for the optimal development of the roots.

Tip: If the focus is on the extraction of rootstocks, the substrate should be chosen as sandy as possible.

watering and fertilizing

To care for the marshmallow, first of all, optimal watering behavior is required. Watering should be done especially when the drought persists; otherwise no additional water supply is necessary. However, the formation of waterlogging must be avoided at all costs; Good drainage of the soil has proven to be the ideal prevention for this purpose. When watering, the ideal time of day should also be chosen. The early morning and late evening hours are particularly suitable. Watering at midday or in the blazing sun should always be avoided.

Targeted fertilization is also necessary for optimal growth of the marshmallow. This should be done annually in spring; Both mineral and organic fertilizers have proven their worth. In addition, a targeted supply of compost is also suitable, preferably in the spring. A gift can also be given in autumn. If the plant is supplied with sufficient nutrients in this way, the growing conditions will improve. In addition, increased flowering can be observed.

cutting and overwintering

The regular care measures also include the targeted pruning of the plant. Various methods are available for this:

  • topiary
  • taper cut
  • care cutback

This measure can be carried out both in the fall, after flowering, and in the spring. In autumn, faded flowers and inflorescences are removed in a targeted manner; in spring, on the other hand, the focus is on removing shoots that have been damaged by frost. In order to achieve a particularly lush growth, it has proven useful to shorten the new shoots by about a third when pruning in the autumn. Disturbing shoots are then cut out.

When pruning in autumn, you should always keep an eye on the forthcoming hibernation: Under no circumstances should the stalks of the marshmallow be cut off before the start of the cold season. This way the plant stays stronger and more resistant to frost. Otherwise, the plant behaves consistently frost hardy. Additional winter protection is not necessary.

But regular pruning cannot only be done for maintenance reasons; a targeted shape cut is also possible. For a high trunk, the shoots that are on the side should be shortened so that only one bud remains. Only shoots that are to form the crown of the plant are left, while the rest are cut down to the bud. If, on the other hand, a bush shape is preferred, the marshmallow is cut like a dome. However, the interior of the shrub should be cleared again and again.


The marshmallow is propagated by dividing the root. Autumn is the best time to do this. The plant is first carefully dug up, preferably with a digging fork. It is important to ensure that the root system is not injured. The root can then be divided using a spade. It is best to separate fist-thick sections, which are best located in the young growth area of ​​the roots. Unclean separation points should be recut with a knife, torn and injured plant and root parts should be removed. Then there are no points of attack for diseases. After division, the individual plants should be planted directly into the ground. If you put several specimens in the ground, a distance of about 80cm between the individual plants has proven to be useful. Finally, the soil around the plant site is pressed down well and the marshmallow carefully watered.


Sow the marshmallow seeds either in spring or in October. When growing, you have to take into account that the marshmallow tends to germinate for a long time. The sowing itself takes place in special seed trays, which are ideally cultivated in an unheated greenhouse or in a cold frame. Alternatively, the seeds can also be grown on the windowsill. The marshmallow belongs to the cold germs; This means that the seeds must first be exposed to cooler temperatures before they begin to germinate. When the plants have grown big enough after germination, they can be transplanted into small pots and then pricked out. Later they are transferred to the open air. Overall, the following exemplary times result for the sowing and cultivation of the marshmallow:

  • Sowing time in September and October
  • Transfer to pots from March to April
  • Release outdoors from April to May

The marshmallow is suitable both for cultivation in a solitary position and within small groups in borders. If a group planting is to take place, it has proven useful to plant between three and five specimens. The distance between the individual specimens is between 60 and 80 centimeters.

Effectively treat pests of marshmallow

The marshmallow is mainly attacked by mining insects, for example the leaf miner. Light yellow to silvery, curved feeding tunnels present themselves on the leaves as a characteristic sign of damage. If the leaves are held up to the light, droppings and fly larvae can often be seen. Neem-based insecticides have proven to be a suitable countermeasure. In addition, you should collect and destroy infested leaves in good time. Promoting natural enemies, which mainly include parasitic wasps, also helps preventively.

In addition to the mining insects, caterpillars are also among the classic marshmallow pests. These insects represent the larvae of butterflies that develop into adult moths via pupal study. Caterpillars that infest marshmallow plants, leaves and young shoots of the plant serve as the main meal. But the flowers are not spurned either. If the population of the caterpillars gets out of hand and increased feeding damage to the marshmallow is noticeable, you can encourage predators in a targeted manner. These include, above all, caterpillar flies and parasitic wasps. If you cultivate the plant near a body of water, you can also use toads or frogs as direct enemies of the caterpillars.

Especially during the summer months, the marshmallow is attacked by spider mites. The damage can usually be clearly identified based on typical features:

  • tiny dots (suction marks) on the leaves from spring
  • later merging of the dots into light gray spots
  • curling and falling of the leaves
  • in case of severe infestation, a coating of fine webs

If the plant is infested by the pest, insecticides based on rapeseed oil and the targeted removal of the leaves can help. To prevent an infestation from occurring in the first place, preventive measures should be taken. This includes, above all, the targeted use of ground beetles, predatory mites and predatory bugs, which are important opponents of the spider mite. It has also proven itself to water and mulch sufficiently in severe drought and to ensure optimal ventilation of the greenhouse and cold frame.

possible uses

Marshmallow has great medicinal and pharmaceutical importance; the root contains different substances – especially mucilage – which are used for various complaints. For example, a tea made from dried root pieces helps with coughs and annoying scratchy throats. The root can also be used for inflammation in the mouth and throat. The whole, cleaned root is particularly popular as a natural teething ring for infants. Here the root helps to alleviate the discomfort of teething. In addition, the various parts of the plant are also suitable for culinary purposes. While the leaves and flowers as well as the seeds are used as a salad seasoning, the root pieces taste particularly good when fried.

Marshmallow is one of the classic plants that are mainly used in near-natural green areas or in cottage gardens. Optimally cared for and regularly cut, the plant is an enrichment for every garden lover. Cultivation is easy to manage, so that even beginners can benefit from the plant.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *