Go Native–Grow Native

Seashore mallow attracts ruby-throated hummingbird.
Photo by Betsy Washington

Seashore mallow goes by many fitting names—Virginia saltmarsh mallow, coastal mallow, or Virginia fen-rose— but no matter what name this lovely coastal plant goes by, it puts on a dazzling show in late summer and fall that will make you fall in love!

I look forward to its blooms every August along our natural shorelines and in the marshes along our brackish rivers. Seashore mallows light up coastal marshes and even some freshwater tidal marshes beginning in early August and lasting into October with dozens of pale pink to rose-pink flowers on a single plant.

This large bushy perennial typically reaches 3 to 5 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide, with soft triangular gray-green leaves that are about twice as long as wide with two basal lobes. Leaves are covered with soft downy hairs giving the foliage a soft gray look, providing the perfect foil for the pink flowers. The showy 3-inch diameter flowers cover the upper branches with dozens of flowers, each lasting only a day, then closing at night. Blooms are so prolific though, that plants remain full of blooms from later summer to late fall…

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