A new blushed lavatera

September 27th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Lavatera 'Dwarf Pink Blush'

I’ve always liked lavateras (annual mallows). They feature on the cover of my first book about annuals from over thirty years ago and I’ve been growing them on and off ever since. They’re just so easy, and so colourful, without being garish. A winning combination.

True the colour range is limited – basically, it’s pink or white – and they can grow quite tall and fall over in gales but this newcomer to the Mr F range addresses both these issues.

OK, it’s not blue or yellow, but it’s a very pretty combination of the two lavatera colours – plus an extra shade. The flowers are white, with pink veins in the throat fading as they run out into the petals – and with a deep crimson, blood red zone deep in the throat.

The feature that addresses the other slight drawback of most lavateras is that ‘Dwarf Pink Blush’ is exactly that, it’s dwarf. Not so dumpy and squat that it’s ugly, no. It makes about 60cm, is self supporting and bushes out nicely.

You can sow seed now in a cold greenhouse and move the seedlings on into 9cm pots then plant out in March. Keep them cool or they’ll grow soft and floppy. The plants will flower earlier than usual, but finish sooner too. Alternatively you can treat ‘Dwarf Pink Blush’ as a hardy annual and sow direct in March. Not your everyday lavatera…

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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