Althaea cannabina

Althaea Cannabina
Louise Sims

LOUISE SIMS WRITES:
SEPTEMBER
Althaea cannabina

17 Althea1
Althaea cannabina – it has obvious and not-so-obvious qualities

I’m all for transparency, and not just in the late summer or early autumn border!
Over the last few weeks I have been looking long and hard at such plantings and have come to the conclusion that relentless clumps of Rudbeckia, Helenium, Eupatorium, Persicaria, Ligularia etc, do not always fit with the average garden plot. Okay in a prairie setting maybe, or setting off a public building, many of these plants are simply too dense and too hoggish and before you know it, there is no room for anything else. The trick is to choose your material very carefully indeed ….. grasses are indispensible at this time of the year, as are certain asters, but again … be selective.

'Transparent' planting
Choosing ‘transparent’ flowers is key to creating a really beautiful garden – particularly if you are constrained for space

My special plant this month is Althaea cannabina, same family as the well-loved hollyhock, and it illustrates my point perfectly. Tall (but even at 6-7’ should not need staking) and willowy, it flowers from summer through to October, delicate pale pink flowers with a darker centre.
It is a real see-through plant and grows happily with late Sanguisorbas, Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’, Succisa pratensis, Verbenas, Veronicastrums, Diascia personata and countless others. I hate to mention the ‘c’ word in September, but top of your reading wish-list should be Marina Christopher’s ‘Late Summer Flowers’. She also sells at many plant fairs as Phoenix Perennial Plants.
Prune althaea to the ground in late autumn.
Many apologies to Kevin Hughes Plants who was at Sussex Prairies Plant Fair earlier this month. Following my piece about Vitex, I was amazed to see his beautiful specimens obviously thriving in pots … also the white one. So now you know where to buy one!

Autumn

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