Malva Zebrina has pale pink or purple blooms with darker purple stripes from late spring to frost. The old-fashioned flowers suit a cottage, heirloom or Victorian garden. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds, but are resistant to rabbits. The scientific name may be listed as Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’ or ‘Zebrinus’. Its common names include Zebra Mallow, Tall Mallow, High Mallow, Striped Mallow and French Hollyhock.
Malva Zebrina is closely related to the Mallow family. The flowers resemble small mallow or hollyhock blooms. The long-lasting flowers are only 1 inch across, but each plant produces dozens of blooms.
Malva Zebrina plants form upright bushy mounds of dark foliage. They grow 20 to 40 inches tall and may need staking when grown in rich soil.
Malva Zebrinas grow in average soil in sun to partial shade. They are grown as annuals in Zones 5 to 9. Malva Zebrinas reseed and may grow as biennials in warmer zones – reseeding in the fall and blooming the following spring.
Seeds of Malva Zebrina can be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last predicted date of frost or started outdoors after the last frost. Barely cover the seeds, which will germinate in 15 to 21 days. Flowers will appear by early summer. Cut back Malva Zebrina after flowering stops to encourage a second bloom and to reduce reseeding.
The flowers of Malva plants were used on May Day for garlands and other decorations. According to Botanical.com, the leaves and flowers can be used as a poultice for skin problems, and the leaves are edible.
Do not use Malva Zebrina or any other plant material as a medical treatment, or eat them, without the advice of a licensed medical practitioner.