- Oct 2, 2021
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I admittedly haven't read this whole thread, but the Zebrina pic caught my attention. I have the same plants in my home garden and have observed the same things. At this point I mostly just let the late ones survive that come up after garlic harvest disturbs the soil.Just an observation, regarding plant behavior. Quite a few plants appear to respond to shortening day length; beans stop flowering & abort younger pods, and some squashes & gourds begin to form female flowers in large numbers. Perhaps responding to a memory of the short days in their tropical origins?
This response is especially interesting. I've allowed Malva sylvestris "Zebrina" to naturalize in my vegetable gardens, to attract pollinators, act as a trap crop for Japanese beetles, and introduce some random beauty into the vegetable garden. They also have very deep tap roots, and will punch holes deep into the subsoil wherever allowed to grow.
They self-seed everywhere, and I allow some plants to grow wherever they will be out of the way. They will germinate in small numbers all summer. But I've noticed a major difference in the Spring-germinated plants, and those which come up in late Summer / early Fall:
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"Zebrina" mallow, Spring habit. Small relatively sparse leaves, numerous flowers
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"Zebrina" mallow, Fall habit (hand in photo for scale). Very large leaves, dense foliage.
The earlier plants will set seed, and most will die soon. The later, larger plants will not flower until very close to the equinox; they will survive the first few frosts, and be one of the few remaining food sources for bees. They will even survive light freezes, and remain in bloom until the temp gets down to 27-28 F. degrees. All mallows are supposedly edible... I'm tempted to sample these large-leafed plants. (I'm assuming they would be similar to okra leaves, to which they are related.)
I'd be curious if anyone else has observed such widely different growth habit, driven only by the date/season germination occurred?