This beautiful Mediterranean plant grows to a metre tall and carries a profusion of bright mauve-purple flowers marked with dark veins. The flowers can last from April to October, making it a great plant for the garden. Mallow was used by the Romans as a food source, a yellow dye and as a medicine. The young leaves can be used in the kitchen, chopped finely to add flavour to a range of dishes, while the dried leaves and flowers are used to make herbal teas. In the U.K. flowers were traditionally made into garlands on May Day.
Annual/perennial (depending on location). Scarify the seed lightly before sowing by rubbing between two sheets of sandpaper. This partially removes the seed coat and lets moisture in to help germination. Sow in spring direct in the garden, 1cm deep. Mallow likes moist soil in sun or partial shade. You can also start plants off by sowing indoors in pots from February to June.
Horticultural name: Malva Sylvestris
Recommended for borders