Mallow is a small biennial plant, is found in the wild and lives without problems up to 1200 meters above sea level. It does not fear the cold but neither excessive heat or drought and is therefore very adaptable and cultivable throughout Italy.
It has leaves with five / seven rounded lobes, the flowers are violet with streaks and appear between April and October. This herb grows spontaneously in gardens and on the side of the road, in fact it is a plant that reproduces very easily.
It is a medicinal plant, precious for its many properties, it is used above all to prepare decoctions and herbal teas, although it can even be used as a vegetable in soups.
Climate and soil suitable for mallow
Mallow is a spontaneous plant that takes root easily and adapts to most climates and soils. While adapting to any soil, it prefers soil rich in organic matter and capable of retaining moisture for a long time, so it may be worth putting mature compost before sowing it. As a plant, it is also undemanding in terms of crop rotations.
In the garden, you can choose to place mallow both in areas exposed to the sun and in semi-shaded flower beds, so it is a good flower to enhance the little sunny corners of the garden. The plant fears excessive heat, in very sultry areas it is advisable to use shading nets to protect this medicinal plant in the hottest months.
Sowing the flower
You can sow the mallow in spring directly in the home, or in a seedbed or pot at the end of winter and then transplant it into the garden bed. The seeds are very simple to germinate, so much so that the plant re-sows itself if left to itself, spreading from year to year in uncultivated land.
For sowing, it is sufficient to prepare the soil with normal processing and moderate organic fertilization, possibly adding sand to soils that are too asphyxiated and compact. You have to keep one distance of 25-30cm between one plant and another, in the home garden just a few plants are enough to obtain a harvest useful for the family's needs.
Mallow seedlings can also be purchased in the nursery, but it is a simple plant to obtain from seed, so it is generally convenient to sow it.
The cultivation of mallow
Mallow is a very simple plant to grow, developed plants require little care and are very little subject to diseases and parasites. When the seedlings are young they go watered regularly, the rest is done by wetting only when there is a prolonged shortage of water.
Weed the soil to free it from weeds it is especially useful when the seedlings are small, with the growth of the shrub the mallow becomes competitive enough to be able to find the space and sporadic cleaning operations of the flower beds suffice. Mulching can help both to retain moisture and to avoid having to remove wild herbs.
Harvesting and drying
Mallow is a flower known above all for herbal teas and decoctions with medicinal properties, but it is also excellent in the kitchen to flavor vegetable minestrone and soups, or boiled and seasoned. The flowers still in bud and the youngest leaves are collected from the plant and dried to prepare herbal teas.
When used in the kitchen, you take the leaves that must be cooked directly, while if you want to make decoctions you have to pick flowers, buds and leaves, which can be dried in a dryer or in a dark place and then stored in glass jars. Instead, drying in the sun, which impoverishes many properties, should be avoided.
The decoctions of mallow and their properties
The use of mallow in herbal tea is very simple. With the leaves and flowers of this medicinal plant you can make excellent infusions, decoctions or herbal teas. The infusion it is obtained with a handful of leaves in a glass of boiling water, to be sweetened to taste, and possibly add lemon juice. The decoction of mallow which is a cough reliever, is obtained by boiling water, flowers and leaves for a few minutes, then filtering the infusion and drinking hot.
Properties of mallow: calming, anti-inflammatory and intestinal regulatory properties are attributed to the decoctions of mallow. The best known quality of mallow herbal tea is that of being a cough reliever, also useful against colds, also mallow flowers have emollient properties and for this reason they are used in cosmetics.