Lavatera is a genus of flowering plants in family Malvaceae, comprising 25 species. It is native to the Mediterranean region, central and eastern Asia, and Australia. Lavatera is commonly know as Tree Mallow, Rose Mallow, Royal Mallow, or Annual Mallow. The genus includes annual, perennial, or shrub, growing to 1-3 m tall. Its leaves are spirally arranged, and palmately lobed. The flowers are large, funnel-shaped, 4-12 cm in diameter, with five white, pink or red petals and are produced in terminal clusters.
Lavatera species are food plants for larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bucculatrix lavaterella. The flowers of several species are used as food by humans.
Lavatera thuringiaca (Garden Tree Mallow) is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1.8 m tall. It has pink flowers, 3-6 cm in diameter and are produced throughout the summer.
Lavatera can be grown in beds and borders, against sunny walls or in containers. They are also easy to grow, useful for filling gaps in borders and also for providing cut flowers. Plant Lavatera in full sun and well-drained soil. Propagation is by seed in spring; softwood or greenwood cuttings in spring. Rust and fungal diseases are known to attack the plants.