top of page

Marsh mallow

Althaea officinalis

1 quart pot


Althaea officinalis, commonly called marsh mallow, is a herbaceous perennial native to ditches, streambanks, brackish wetlands, swamp margins, and other moist, disturbed areas in Europe and northern Africa. It is also grown as an ornamental and medicinal herb, and has escaped cultivation in parts of eastern Canada and the United States. Mature plants will reach up to 4' tall with a 2.5' spread (occasionally to 6' tall and 4' wide). The rigid, upright stems can be highly branched or unbranched depending on growing conditions. The leaves can vary in shape but tend to be ovate to cordate with toothed margins and 3-5 shallow lobes. The upper and lower surfaces of the leaves are covered in soft hairs giving them a velvety texture. The leaves can reach 4" long and 2.75" wide. The 1.5" wide, pale pink flowers bloom singly or in small clusters in the leaf axils towards the tops of the stems from mid to late summer.


The common name marsh mallow refers to the preferred habitat of this plant and its placement in the Malvaceae (mallow) family.


The marshmallow sweet treat we all know and love is based on a confection made by the ancient Egyptians from the root of this Althaea officinalis plant. Today's marshmallow treats, however, no longer contain any trace of the plant; the marsh mallow is now only grown as an ornamental plant.


  • Herbaceous perennial

  • Full sun

  • Grows 3-6 ft. tall x 2.5 ft. wide

  • Prefers damp to wet soil

  • Blooms Jul-Sep

  • Zones 3-9

Marsh mallow


    Related Products