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Lavatera trimestris engraving Lavatera trimestris
Rose Mallow
This member of the mallow family is native to the Mediterranean and was introduced to England in 1633. Rose mallow became a cottage garden favorite there and has since become naturalized throughout Europe and North America. It's a juicy plant and an emollient, which makes it Venus, and logically enough, it is often used in love magick. The flowers can be pink, rose, white, or striped (as in the engraving); the white-flowered types have something very Moon about them. Despite the Venus connection, mallow is often associated with Samhain, and the Greeks planted it around graves. This friendly, non-toxic herb is considered helpful for repelling negative spirits--some make a spiritually protective ointment of 2 parts mallow, 2 parts rosemary, and 1 part verbena. This herb is connected to malachite, which was named for the color of mallow's leaves; malachite would be a good stone to use with this herb, especially because it is green, a Venus color. The edible flowers added to a bath are thought to soften hardness of the personality. Its flower essence helps unify heart and mind, so that we are neither too rational nor too emotional. It encourages intuitive thinking, opening oneself up spiritually without losing one's free will, and builds integrity. The flower essence is good for people who feel distanced from their emotions, who have repetitive thoughts, or whose thoughts lead them to be intolerant, rude, or react overly emotionally to others. In the language of flowers, mallow stands for "sweet disposition."

In the Garden

This magick herb blooms from mid-summer to frost and in China is a traditional flower for house decoration in September. Its silvery, shiny flowers look good with fuzzy wormwood or lamb's ear. It is related to High Mallow but is as easy to germinate as another of its relatives, Black Hollyhock. This bushy, deer-resistant plant likes to grow in sandy soil. It is good for xeriscaping, making a temporary hedge (great around a circle), and can grow by the ocean. Like most cottage garden plants, it prefers cool weather and will languish in humid heat but will perk up again when it cools. Bees love it, and it makes good cut flowers that last a long time. This plant is also known as royal mallow, regal mallow, annual mallow, and fairy cheese, this last because its fruits are shaped like a round cheese. Deadheading (pinching off dead flowers) will make more blooms, but let some set fruit; each fairy cheese contains 12 seeds that can be saved when fully ripe and planted the next year (in a different place to avoid plant disease)  

How to grow it. Barely cover a couple seeds in each 3" pot or Jiffy-7, or plant outside after all danger of frost. Seeds germinate in 7-12 days at 60-70F/15-21C. After hardening off, transplant to full sun and average soil, planting at least a foot apart; rich soil will mean many leaves and few flowers with this plant. Flowers can be pink, rose, or white, are satiny and often striped and bloom July till fall. Deadhead for more blooms. The neat little Fairy cheese (fruit) will contain 12 seeds for planting next year in a different spot.  General growing info

 

Lavatera trimestris
Rose mallow (Mix of pink, white, & striped)
250 seeds $3.75


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Love Magic
Venus Herb
Celebrating Samhain
Honoring the Dead
Protection Spells

2004, 2015 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission