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LAVATERA olbia 'Eye Catcher'

Image of Lavatera olbia 'Eye Catcher'

Family

Malvaceae

Botanical Name

LAVATERA olbia 'Eye Catcher'

Plant Common Name

Eye Catcher Tree Mallow, Tree Mallow

General Description

This heavy-flowering tree mallow is distinguished by its brilliant rose-pink flowers with ruby eyes. This shrubby relative of the hollyhock is absolutely beautiful when it blooms in summer. Tree mallow is native to the western Mediterranean where conditions are dry and winters mild. This explains its tolerance of heat and drought. Though technically woody, it may die back to the base if subjected to freezing temperatures for too long.

The semi-evergreen Lavatera olbia has soft, gray-green, maple-like leaves and a tall, upright habit. Throughout summer it offers profuse showy flowers. The rosy blooms are borne along tall stems, much like a hollyhock. Each five-petaled flower is rosy pink with darker veins and throats. The peak of bloom is in early summer and tapers off gradually as the season progresses.

Grow tree mallow in light, sandy or gritty soils that have some organic matter. Full sun is essential for good flowering and a full habit. It is salt tolerant and will withstand drought once established. Protect this shrub from cold, drying winter winds to prevent leaf scald and drop. It tends to become leggy and requires yearly pruning to maintain a neat and compact form. Late winter is the best time to prune. The inner foliage of this bushy bloomer may have trouble with discoloration caused by fungal pathogens, so be sure to place it where airflow is good and thin out troubled stems if necessary.

This is a tough and easy shrub for hot, sunny landscapes. It looks especially pretty when planted among airy bunch grasses and wildflowers. Lavatera olbia has become naturalized in several counties in California.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    50"-70" / 127.0cm - 177.8cm

  • Width

    35"-47" / 88.9cm - 119.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Mediterranean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Red, Pink, Rose

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes