Common Mallow: Hollyhock Look-Alikes Spread by Seed

Characteristics of Common Mallow

Common mallow is a low-growing European weed that’s become naturalized throughout the United States. It can infest thin lawns, but is also common in gardens, along roadsides, and in fields. Usually an annual, it dies off in cold winters but survives in milder areas.

Mallow leaves are rounded, about the size of a nickel. The lobed edges are puckered resulting in a somewhat wrinkled appearance. Light pink to lavender flowers cluster in 2s and 3s, and resemble mini hollyhocks. This deep-rooted weed spreads by kidney-shaped seeds. Sometimes confused with ground ivy, its round rather than square stems identify it easily.

Getting Rid of Mallow

To loosen and remove the plant’s deep taproot, common mallow plants can be dug using a long-bladed weeding tool. New shoots may sprout if the entire root system isn’t removed. Existing plants also can be eliminated with granular broadleaf weed killers. Preen Lawn Weed Control and Preen One Lawncare, for example, kill mallow in lawns without harming the surrounding turf grass.

New mallow outbreaks can be prevented in gardens by using Preen Mulch with Extended Control Weed Preventer or by using Preen Landscape Weed Control Fabric. Always read and follow the label directions.

Photo by Patrick J. Alexander, courtesy

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