It may still be winter, but that doesn't mean we can't inject some colour into our balcony, windowsill or garden. Enter wild mallow from The Growable Calendar!
Here's what's ahead:
We all love beautiful flowers, don’t we?
Whether in wild permaculture outdoors or in a perfectly-tended perennial garden – wild mallow brings a shimmering shine everywhere she goes. And just when you think you couldn't fit any more flowers on one plant…BOOM. That’s when the majestic mallow family really knocks your socks off.
These flowers were popular in cottage gardens centuries ago, and there are certainly numerous old houseplant varieties that have "rooted" themselves in homes and cultures for generations. This has allowed the wild mallow to adapt perfectly to the conditions of most any garden.
The wild mallow is also very easy to please – she is happy when she can spread her seeds in your garden and freshen it up every year. If you want to see them bloom a little earlier in the year, collect a few seeds in the fall and start growing the wild mallow indoors from March.
So let's get cracking on your February seeds from The Growable Calendar.
Quick tips at a glance:
Sowing depth: cover thinly with soil – needs light to germinate
Germination temperature: 18-22°C
Germination period: 14 days
Plant spacing: 40 cm
Row spacing: 50 cm
Root depth: 50 cm
Sowing outdoors/flowering: April–May/June–September
Sow indoors/harvest: March–April/June–September
Soil: rich in humus, loose, rich in nitrogen
Lifespan: two to several years
Type: weak eater
Here's what you'll need:
Preparing wild mallow indoors is very simple, and it allows you to get them to bloom a little earlier. However, the mallow will be a bit more robust and resilient if you sow it directly in the bed or in a large pot from April.
To get started planting the seed-paper from your calendar, first fill the growing pots with soil and moisten them well. Tear the calendar page into snippets, each with one seed, or take the individual seeds out of the paper. Put 1-2 of the funny curved seeds in each pot (if one doesn't open). Since the wild mallow needs light to germinate, you just put the seeds on the ground and press them down lightly with a piece of wood or your hand. Sprinkle a little bit of soil over it. Water the whole thing carefully with your shower ball or watering tin, then place the pots on a bright window sill.
Is it still too cold outside, but your little seedlings are still getting cramped in their seed pots? Probably best to transplant them into larger pots first.
Preparation outdoors: If you want to sow your seeds directly or put your mallows in the bed after they have been pulled, you should loosen the soil well and enrich it with some compost. You can use a rake to incorporate it.
From the pot to a bed or bucket: if you prefer your mallows outside in mid-May, you can place them in the bed at a distance of 40 cm and then water them well so that they can root again. For the balcony you should choose a large bucket (depth at least 50 cm) in which you can place 1-4 plants, depending on the diameter.
Direct sowing outdoors: From April you can sow the seeds directly into a bed. To do this, make slight grooves in the moistened soil every 50 cm and place a seed every 20 cm. Spacing is important because your mallows can grow very large and have many leaves and flowers. This is how they grow into really beautiful perennials.
To prevent the seeds from being washed away or eaten by birds, cover them very lightly with soil or sift sand over them. Water well and keep the seed consistently moist until germination. If the seeds are washed too close together by heavy rain or if all the seeds sprout, you will need to separate them to 40cm after germination. To do this, carefully lift seedlings that are too close together and plant them elsewhere. Water well!
Although the wild mallow prefers warm and sunny locations, for example on a house wall, it also does well in partially shaded gardens.
Their favourite soil is loose, sandy and rich in humus. If you have a lot of clay in your soil, you should treat it with sand and compost first.
Good and Bad Neighbours
Good: carrot, parsley, lettuce
Diseases and Pests
Aphids: Spray aphids indoors with soapy water; hose them down with water outdoors.
Mallow Leaf Vein Potyvirus: Remove diseased plant parts and dispose of with household waste.
Throw mallow rust: Put leaves with "rust spots" in the bin, removing the whole plant if necessary – you will also want to consider changing location next year.
Prepare bed with compost
No fertilization necessary
Water only when dry
Overwintering: Leave green and cut back in spring or in autumn after the seeds have ripened. If necessary, cover with straw or brushwood in case of frost. Overwinter your potted plants in a dark place at approximately 8°C (inside the house or with jute sacks and polystyrene underlay isolated on a house wall).
As soon as the first flowers have developed, you can harvest them with scissors. With new buds blooming throughout the summer, keep a few on hand to decorate your kitchen creations.
But share fairly with the insects in your garden and leave them a few flowers too.
If you wait until the mallow has flowered and set seeds, you can pick them up on a dry day in the fall. They look like little cheese loaves that you can break into "bite-sized" pieces (the individual seeds).
The flowers of the wild mallow not only beautify your bed, but also all kinds of dishes. You almost have to be careful that they don't outshine the other ingredients with their bright colours. They don't have much to offer in terms of taste, but they certainly make up for this in their beauty.
Since the colour transfers very easily to liquids, you can use the flowers to color a simple, green herbal tea red (and maybe give it to your children). Mallow tea also has an expectorant effect on coughs. We’re not saying mallows are the key to solving the pandemic, but we aren’t saying they’re not…
Young mallow leaves can also be used in salads and soups, or even cooked like spinach.
Additionally, you can add a few of the immature seeds for a slightly nutty flavour in summer salads.
When it comes to plants, we always say – have fun and get creative! And wild mallow is no exception.
So let's talk about it! How do YOU like planting these wild mallow seeds? Let us know in the comments below how you love this beautiful plant from Back to the Roots edition of The Growable Calendar!
Healthy vegetables and high yields: simple with proper planning. Take a look at our instructions, and use our sample bed plan as your guide!
Wondering what to consider when watering your plants? Whether on your balcony or in your garden, here are some simple rules for the summer.
Autumn leaves on the ground?! This free layer of mulch serves as winter protection for plants and as food for soil organisms. Let's go!
Nature knows how it's done: Sow in autumn and let them germinate in spring. We'll show you how you can sow these so-called "cold germs".
Do you know how much food your plants need? It is important to attend to their nutrient needs, and we've got some tips to help you!
We love the sun – and plants love it even more! Here you can find out why gardening indoors and outdoors really doesn't work without light.