Lavatera is a genus with only a dozen species accepted, of the 110 described. Belonging to the Malvaceae family, these floral plants are very difficult to differentiate from the genus Malva. Since the differentiation between these two genera is based on characters that are not directly available (microstructures of mericarpos and molecular analysis), distinguishing them in the field is practically impossible. That is why many authors have come to recognize the genre Lavatera and Malva as synonyms. We will do the same in this post, where we will analyze how to perform the pruning of Lavatera or Mallow (Malva), techniques, time and appropriate tools for the task.

We will use the words Lavatera, Mallow and Malva as synonymous because the tasks that must be carried out to prune them are the same and if we had to differentiate them we would be repeating the same concepts twice for very difficult plants to differentiate.

Note: Please note that the advice given here is general, this blog is consulted from many countries in the world, with totally different characteristics, what not all tips will be adapted in the same way in all cases. Once you finish reading the article it will be necessary to analyze all the information and apply what you have learned in the best way. If you have any questions, remember that you can contact us to make your inquiries.

1. How to care your Lavatera plant

While pruning the Mallows is a very important care, it is not the only one. For them we will begin to see, briefly, the main care you should have with this plant.

The Lavatera is an easy plant to take care of and is not too demanding with the natural conditions it requires to grow and develop well.

  • Soil: It grows in most types of soil with good drainage, including poor soil. However, it performs best on sandy or clay soils.
  • Location: This plant needs a place with alternation between sun and shade to grow well, on the other hand it must be repaired from strong wind.
  • Reproduction: The most effective way to plant Malvas is by sowing seeds directly in the garden after the last frost in spring.
Lavatera flowers
Lavatera flowers
  • Watering: It should be moderate, it does not settle too much moisture so it has to be well drained soil. Every 2 or 3 days you can water only a little, this plant but it is important not to overdo it because so much water can damage it.
  • Pests: The Lavatera and Malvas can be attacked by fungi that generates a common disease in these plants such as orange rust. A periodic control is the best way to take these pests on time before they are spread too much.
  • Fertilization: Feed the plant with a general-purpose garden fertilizer, do it during the growing season. Be careful not to overfeed with too much fertilizer, this can produce a green, leafy plant at the expense of blooms.
  • Pruning: for obvious reasons pruning could not be missing in this list. We will develop this point extensively in the other sections.

2. Tools needed to prune or trim a Lavatera or Mallow

Since the genus Lavatera includes annual, biennial and perennial herbaceous plants and shrubs or, sometimes, trees that reach 1-3 meters in height, the size that we can have when we talk about these plants is quite broad. This means that the choice of one tool or another can be quite wide, since it is not the same to prune a Herbacea Lavatera 1 m high than a 3 m bush. So and everything with some of these tools you can fix without problems whatever the case.

  • Hand Pruning Shears: Stems up to half inch in diameter can be pruned with hand shears.
  • Lopping Shears: It is suitable to use on stems between half inch and 2 inches in diameter.
  • Saws: A number of pruning saws are available. These saws come with either curved or straight blades and of variable lengths and points. Curved blades that cut on the draw stroke are easy to use.

Keep in mind that you must disinfect all the tools before trimming your Lavatera. This will help prevent disease transmission, you will have to do it before you start pruning and every time you change plants.

2.1 Needed care of pruning tools

If you want to extend the useful life of your pruning tools there are some basic care.

  • Use the right tool for a job and avoid twisting or straining it.
  • Clean and oil tools regularly by wiping an oily cloth on blades and other surfaces.
  • Keep cutting edges sharp by regularly using an oilstone.
  • Wooden handles should be varnished or regularly treated with linseed oil to keep them from cracking or splintering.

Carry out the previous care on a regular basis and you will be saving good money on tools. 🙂

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3. Pruning Lavatera or Mallow – How to prune

Carrying out the pruning of Lavatera is not a difficult task at all, it could be said that it is one of those special plants for newbies to take their first steps in pruning. In general, the results of trimming your Mallow are seen in a few months, so you can quickly verify if you have carried out the task correctly. 😉

Although as with all the plants in your garden, pruning has several purposes, in the Lavateras there is a well-defined objective. The same is to push the plant to generate new and vigorous shoots, so that they develop healthy and strong throughout the following season.

Pruning should be carried out annually, without exceptions. In case you forget to prune it, you will see how the stems of the previous year will become woody, brittle and produce a scarce flowering.

3.1 Tips to prune Malva correctly

While we said that the pruning method is very simple it is necessary to take into account some essential tips to avoid mistakes. We can summarize these tips in the following:

  • Let’s start with the most important thing, a Lavatera responds perfectly to strong pruning, and these are the ones that you must carry out annually. When I say strong pruning, I mean that you must cut all the stems at an approximate height of 1 foot from the ground.
  • The recommended cut height (1 foot) is merely an approximation. The important thing is that you leave under the cut about 3 or 4 buds capable of sprouting, thus generating the branches of the next season.
  • You are likely to find weak or brittle stems that break easily when folded. Try to cut them at ground level, because by their state they will not be able to withstand new shoots from them.
Lavatera flower
Lavatera flower
  • To verify if a stem is dead or alive during the pruning of your Lavatera you can graze the bark with any cutting element, if it is green under the bark it is alive, if it is brown it is dead. Like weak stems, cut off all dead branches at ground level.
  • Before starting to cut, try to verify that the cutting elements are well sharpened, this will allow clean cuts to be carried out as little damage as possible to the plant. In the tools section we already said it but it never hurts to repeat it, do not forget to disinfect your tools, this will help to not spread diseases from plant to plant.

I think without mistake that I have taken more time to write these tips than what has led you to learn and put it into practice, it is that easy to prune a Mallow.

3.2 How to prune Lavatera Barnsley

When talking about the pruning of this type of plants, it is very common to find oneself with the particular doubt about how to carry out the pruning of a Barnsley Lavatera. As I have encountered this query several times before writing this post I have decided to dedicate a short section.

The Barnsley Lavatera are among the smallest species of the genus, generally reaching 75 cm is perfect for decorating small gardens. This feature will make your job easy when pruning it, having to carry out the same task that we saw in previous sections. Cut all its stems to a height that leaves a couple of buds capable of sprouting strongly next season.

Being small plants that you can usually have in a pot you can take better care of the cold, this will not depend so much on the climatic factor when selecting the time to prune.

4. When to prune lavatera or Malva (pruning time)

As we said repeatedly, the pruning of the Lavatera is annual, on the other hand the right time to do so depends on the area where you live.

If you are in a temperate zone, where winters are very weak, you can perform pruning in the fall. Just after the summer bloom. If on the contrary the winters are quite raw, with frosts that are felt, it would be a mistake to choose autumn for pruning. You run the risk of generating new outbreaks and being frozen in the cold months. Therefore, in cold areas, it is correct to prune in early spring, just before flowering.

As you may have noticed, when to prune a Malva or Mallow does not have a fixed rule, but in the same way there is no beginning of autumn or beginning of spring. So the trial and error is also useful, if you see that when pruning in autumn did not work, try the next season in spring or vice versa. 😉

5. Pruning Lavatera, Mallow or Malva Youtube video

We will finish this article without losing the comfort we always have on this website, end with a video (Lynda Meikle channel). This will help you understand more graphically everything seen so far.

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So here we come with this article, I hope you have no doubt when taking the scissors and start cutting. 😉