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12 Interesting Facts About Lavatera

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The Lavatera plant, also known as the tree mallow, is an attractive flowering plant that can make a beautiful addition to any garden. Here are 12 fascinating facts about this eye-catching plant:

The Lavatera is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae. These herbaceous plants and small shrubs are native to the Mediterranean region, Africa, Asia, North America, and Australia.

With their large, colorful blooms and bushy foliage, Lavateras make excellent landscape plants in temperate climates. They require little care once established and bloom through the summer, making them a low-maintenance way to add vibrant color to gardens.


1. Unique flowering habit

One of the most interesting facts about Lavatera is its unique flowering habit. The blooms only last a single day, but the plants flower continuously all summer long, with new blooms emerging as older ones fade. This provides weeks of non-stop color.

2. Attract pollinators

The bright, nectar-rich flowers of Lavateras attract butterfliesbeeshummingbirds, and other beneficial pollinating insects to gardens. By planting these flowering shrubs, gardeners can support local pollinator populations.

3. Used as an herbal remedy

Various Lavatera species have been used in herbal medicine for centuries. For example, the bark of the California tree mallow (Lavatera assurgentiflora) has been used as an herbal remedy for coughs, wounds, and insect bites by native peoples of California.

4. Dynamic colors

Lavatera blooms come in colors ranging from pure white to deep pink or purple. Some varieties have blooms that change color as they mature, transitioning from lighter to darker shades. This makes for an eye-catching display.

5. Tolerate heat

An interesting fact about Lavateras is that they tolerate hot, dry conditions very well. Once established, these plants are quite drought-resistant and can thrive even in full sun and high summer temperatures in USDA Hardiness Zones 9-11.

6. Grow quickly

Lavateras grow rapidly, filling in empty spaces in gardens quickly. In one season, some varieties can reach over 6 feet (2 m) in height. This fast growth rate makes them a great choice for new gardens or blank canvases that need some color.

7. Used as food

The young leaves of some Lavatera species are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The foliage was consumed as a vegetable by the native peoples of California. However, not all Lavateras are suitable for consumption, so caution is necessary.

8. Fibers used for rope

The stems of certain Lavatera plants contain strong fibers that have been used to make rope, baskets, and textiles. Species such as Lavatera arborea were used to create rope and nets in parts of the Mediterranean.

9. Attract hummingbirds

With their tubular blooms full of nectar, many Lavatera varieties are magnets for hummingbirds. Gardeners who want to attract more of these energetic birds can fill their yards with Lavateras. The ruby-throated hummingbird, in particular, seems to favor these plants.

10. Grow in poor soil

An interesting characteristic of Lavateras is their ability to grow in poor, sandy soil. While they perform best in well-draining soil, they can even thrive in rocky, low-quality earth. This adaptability makes them ideal for challenging planting sites.

11. Used as ornamentals

With their vibrant flowers and attractive bushy form, it’s no wonder Lavateras are so popular as ornamental garden plants. Varieties such as Lavatera trimestris are commonly grown in herbaceous borders, cottage gardens, and informal hedges.

12. Low maintenance

Once established, most Lavateras require little care or upkeep. They tolerate drought, heat, and poor soil without issue. As long as they receive full sun, Lavateras are some of the most low-maintenance flowering shrubs for gardens.


With striking flowers that bloom all season, dynamic colors, and the ability to thrive in heat and lean soil, Lavateras have much to offer gardens. These versatile plants attract pollinators, serve as food and fiber sources, and add vibrant ornamental beauty to landscapes. Hopefully this article has illuminated some intriguing facts about this fabulous genus of plants.

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