I have a beautiful lavatera plant (which I think is of the
arborea(tum?) variety. It is currently planted in a half wine barrel.
While it is growing and flowering, I have to water it every day because
by the end of hte afternoon, it is visibly drooping. Does anyone have
any advice about this? Perhaps it simply can't be in a container? Any
The foliage is outgrowing the ability of constrained roots to supply
moisture. If you wish to keep it in a container, you must trim the
plant. Alternatively, replant in a larger container.
Also, consider replanting with a potting mix that is more amenable to
supplying moisture to roots even as the mix starts to become dry. See
my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html for a
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
If you want to check which type you've got have a look at my gallery -
There is a Lavatera arborea (now Malva dendromorpha to the botanists) -
see under section Anthema - but occasionally other types are mistakenly
labelled under this name.
My experience is that Lavatera arborea doesn't need that amount of
watering - I've got several year old seedlings in 7" pots - and that
"Olbias" (mostly Lavatera x clementii) do require more watering. I
sometimes place pots in a tray, and give them a good overnight soaking,
but I guess that may be impracticable for a half wine-barrel. You could
try giving it a little shade during heatwaves.
Growing Olbias in containers isn't ideal. If you don't feed and water
them adequately they'll fail to thrive. (I have a lot in pots of various
sizes, due to lack of garden space, but the ones that have been planted
out are much more vigorous. Lavatera arborea is rather tender, and there
is, in my locality, advantages to growing them in pots, so you can give
them winter shelter. They will however survive in a suitable
Stewart Robert Hinsley
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