Medicinal marshmallow, or Althaea officinalis, is both grown as a medicinal herb for its therapeutic properties and as an ornamental plant since its flowers are so cute.
Main Marshmallow facts
Name – Althaea officinalis
Family – Malvaceae (mallow family)
Type – herbs and spices, perennial
Height – 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 m)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – rich enough
Flowering – June to September
Harvest – July to September
How to grow marshmallow
Marshmallow requires sun, ideally soft sunlight and moist, rich soil. It can grow in salty soil, too.
Sowing and planting marshmallow
Proceed to sow directly in the plot starting in May-June or at the latest during the month of July.
Trimming the marshmallow
All parts of the plant (roots, leaves and flowers) can be collected to be eaten.
Wait for the summer to gather them.
Avoid planting your marshmallow near hollyhocks because the rust attacks would do double the damage.
Marshmallow in pots
Growing marshmallow in pots is never really successful, we strongly advise that you spend your efforts for something less ungrateful…
Watch out for small bugs!
Although marshmallow is left alone by most critters, it is however highly vulnerable to rust.
The different varieties of marshmallow
The only known species is the one harvested for medicinal purposes. However, a cousin species deserves to be mentioned: hollyhock (Alcea rosea) is also from the mallow family and is grown as an ornamental plant.
Hollyhock has the same medicinal uses as marshmallow. However, its root doesn’t contain as much mucilage. Refreshing drinks can be colored with the purple flowers of hollyhock and its leaves can be eaten like other cooked greens.
All there is to know about marshmallow
Both a very beautiful ornamental plant and herb used for medicine and cooking, marshmallow is one of the ingredients in the traditional sweets that bear its name.
This is a very melliferous plant.
With high levels of mucilage, it boasts relaxing and moisturizing properties and thus is included in certain medicines like cough syrup.
Smart tip about marshmallow
The flowers are edible and can be added to your mixed salads and desserts!