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Lavatera Barnsley Baby is one of my favourite shrubs to grow in pots and containers as they don’t get too large. They are fairly low maintenance compared to their larger cousins, the Rosea and the Burgundy Wine and give one of the best shows of any shrub, flowering for longer than another other variety of shrubby Lavatera. What is there not to love!
You would think that they take a lot of effort, but in reality, they are quite easy to grow as are most of the shrubby Lavatera varieties.
These plants are not high maintenance and in full bloom, they are a good addition to any display.
If you plan on introducing the Lavatera Barnsley Baby to your garden, then make sure you read my guide on how to grow and care for these stunning shrubs.
Where to plant Lavatera Barnsley Baby to get the most out of it
This variety of Lavatera grows to a maximum of around 24 inches, maybe a little taller, and it thrives in different types of soil whether sandy or loam so soil type is not usually a problem. If growing them in pots a loamy soil such as John Innes potting compost is perfect as this also helps to retain the moisture. Retaining moisture is important as Lavatera shrubs require a lot of watering when grown in containers.
Ideally, the soil should have good drainage to prevent water from pooling at the roots. Waterlogged soil prevents the roots from taking up enough oxygen and encourages root rot thus only water occasionally. If you do have soil that sometimes doesn’t drain too well, try digging in plenty of horticultural grit and organic matter into the soil to help improve drainage.
The Lavatera Barnsley Baby grows best in a sheltered position, in full sunshine, but it will also do well in a partially shaded position as long as they get some sun throughout the day.
Lavatera Barnsley Baby shrubs are frost hardy to around -5 degrees Celsius, if it gets colder than this then think about keeping it inside a greenhouse, or at least make sure it is in a more sheltered position. You can also mulch around the base in autumn to provide some protection as well as cover it with fleece to protect it from hard frost.
Here are some care tips to help you get the most out of your Lavatera Barnsley Baby:
- Watering a Lavatera daily is not needed if it has been planted in the ground and is fully established. Newly planted Lavatera need watering regularly for the first year and Lavatera grown in pots will need frequent watering over the summer as they often dry out quickly.
- While sowing seeds, make sure you don’t apply too much fertiliser to the soil. Overfed Lavatera plants tend to manifest more foliage than blooms. Start to feed them once they come into flower.
- If you want to make the plant bushier, pinch the tops out to restrict the height.
- Prune by around half every year or so, to around 30cm above the base of the plant.
- Puccinia malvacearum is a type of rust that attacks Lavatera frequently. Treat this by removing the diseased sections; apply a fungicide and mulch to prevent spores from the ground from accessing the foliage.
- Tackle pest infestations the minute you identify there is an issue. This is so that the plant’s vigour is not affected, especially for young plants.
- Deadhead the shrubs for continual blooms. It is best to deadhead before seed heads emerge.
Pruning Lavatera ‘Barnsley Baby’
While you can let Lavatera grow wildly, pruning is necessary to ensure they produce masses of flowers every year and don’t get too long and leggy. It also helps keep the plant well ventilated by removing dead or diseased branches. If the bushy plant is well ventilated, then the risk of fungi infection is much less.
Pruning Lavatera is ideally done around early to mid-spring after the risk of hard frost damage has passed.
You can cut back Lavatera severely and it will grow back thriving. If you are doing light pruning cut it back by around one third to half the plant.
Make sure to use sharp shears to avoid uneven cuts that house diseases and pests. If you have infected plants, make sure to sterilise the shears before moving to the next plant.
Growing Lavatera ‘Barnsley Baby’ from cuttings
Another method used in growing Lavatera Barnsley Baby is through taking cuttings from a plant you may already have. These cuttings have to be softwood for them to establish root systems easily.
The cuttings are taken between spring and summer as the new growth matures. Take a cutting from the plant that is about 10cm long and remove the lower leaves, leaving the top pair of leaves on.
After removing the lower leaves, pinch out the tip, this is not something you need to do, but I find it makes a better plant once more mature.
Dip the cuttings into a rooting hormone and push them down into the already prepared seed/cutting compost in small pots.
Water the cuttings, cover them with a plastic bag and place them away from direct sunlight. Later on, check if the roots are growing by seeing if roots are appearing out the bottom of the pot.
Once the cuttings have been established you can then plant them outdoors.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to grow Lavatera regardless of the variety. Take up the challenge and grow these magnificent plants in your garden. When spring arrives and the blooms are on display, it will be worth the effort. To make matters better they attract bees so you will also be doing your bit to help pollinating insects.