In conjunction with the launching of our new database, we will feature a plant of special interest each month. Our staff members will discuss why they like the plant, how it is useful in garden areas, and a description of what the plant does in multiple seasons.
Plant of the Month: August
Scientific Name: Kosteletzkya virginica
Common Name: Seashore Mallow
Selected by: Amanda Clark, Production Coordinator
Walking through the garden in August, you are greeted with whimsical pink flowers as you near the spring house at Moore Farms Botanical Garden. The 3-inch blooms are made up of five frilly pink petals that surround yellow flower parts. Seashore mallow adorns many of the low-lying areas around the fishing pond as a backdrop showcasing other specimens. This plant sleeps through the winter and pushes a seasons new growth up to 5 feet tall and wide. The furry, grey-green leaves are shaped like wings with slightly jagged edges. It thrives from New York to Texas in ditches, bogs, swamps, and coastal plains.
There are many uses in the landscape and habitat for this pretty pink mallow. The large size makes for a nice border and backdrop. It can handle occasional standing water which is great for erosion control along edges of ponds, ditches, wetlands, or rain gardens. This a beneficial habitat plant attracting bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. It is a host plant for the Grey Hairstreak butterfly, Strymon melinus and the Checkered-Skipper butterfly, Pyrgus communis.
Propagate Seashore Mallow through seed, cuttings, or division. This perennial lives around 5 years but will drop seed. The seed pods look like a five-pointed star and contain about 5 round seeds. Soak the seeds overnight. They will germinate around 75°F and flower in the first season. Tip and secondary cuttings are quick to root if taken in the spring before flower formation. Bury one or 2 nodes under media to root. Propagating through division is best done in the spring to give the new plants time to concentrate on root growth.