Musk mallow – characteristics, cultivation and use

musk mallow
musk mallow

The musk mallow is an old medicinal plant, comparable to mallow. In the folk medicine one makes no difference between the different mallow species. The healing effect is expectorant and anti-inflammatory and helps e.g. against coughing. As the plant is very rare, it should not be collected in the wild, especially since other stronger mallow species are much more common. Though the attractive aromatic plant is well-suited for insect or bee pastures.

Profile of musk mallow:

Scientific name: Malva moschata

Plant family: mallow family

Other names: –

Sowing time / Planting time: March – Mai

Flowering period: June – September

Harvest time: June – September

Useful plant parts: leaves, flowers, roots

Location: sunny

Soil quality: dry, low-calcium, nitrogen-rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use as a medicinal herb: expectorants, cough

Use as aromatic herb: tea, salad, as vegetable

Plant characteristics and classification of musk mallow

Origin and occurrence of musk mallow

Originally musk mallow (Malva moschata) comes from the Mediterranean, but is now a popular ornamental plant in many countries around the world. The native perennial is widespread in Europe. Often, the musk-mallow does colonize not too wet ruderal corridors and rarely mown fresh meadows. In the Alps, distribution could be detected up to an altitude of 1350 m (4.330 ft).

Plant order of musk mallow

The genus of common mallows includes between 20 and 30 species. In addition to the musk-mallow, especially the dwarf mallow finds a wide distribution. As ornamental plants the annual mallow or the royal mallow are usually planted.

Characteristics of the musk mallow


The musk-mallow is a perennial herbaceous plant and reaches stature heights of 20 to 60 cm (8 to 24 in).


The upper leaves are divided to the bottom in five to seven sections, these in turn in more sections. The individual sections are narrow, and the edges are approximately parallel. The lower leaves are only roughly palmately divided by half.


The inflorescences contain one to three flowers. The supposedly musk-smelling, hermaphrodite flowers are radial symmetry and pentamerous. The five white to white rose petals are usually 2 to 2.5 cm (1 in) long.


The fruits are schizocarps and have the, typical for mallow, cheese wheel form and are 3-6 mm in diameter,

Musk mallow – cultivation and care


It likes a dry, lime-poor and warm location, so you can sometimes find it on the edges of fields and vineyards.


The best conditions for a vital, flowering growth are nutrient-rich, dry to fresh and well drained soil. With these attributes should also be equipped the pot substrate. Do not use peat-containing potting soil. A high quality potting soil compost-based, enriched with peat substitutes, is beneficial for your plants and protects the environment.


Between mid-March and mid-May, ideally, the sowing of mallow takes place. The seeds are best incorporated into a plant pot with a deep soil. There they should be pressed in about 1 cm (0.4 in) and be well covered, as the musk mallow is a dark germ. After about two weeks, the first seedlings are visible. The later size of the herb requires a planting distance of 40 to 50 cm (16 to 20 in).


The summer flower should not dry out if possible and should therefore be watered at regular intervals. This is especially true when it comes to prolonged periods of drought in the summer. In the same breath, however, you must avoid excessive moisture, since waterlogging could otherwise cause considerable damage. It is best to water the plant in the mornings or evenings.


However, it is not necessary to fertilize musk mallow at regular intervals. Rather, it is sufficient if you fertilize the plant at the beginning of its growing season. In doing so, it is best to take compost or a liquid complete fertilizer from specialist retailers.

However, if you plant musk mallow in the pot, regular fertilization is even a must. A liquid fertilizer that is especially suitable for flowering plants, is best suited to provide this malvenous species with all the important nutrients.


No regular pruning is required. However, you should make sure that you immediately remove shoots that have already withered. Because only then the plant is stimulated to form new flowers, so that the flowering time is extended altogether. If you want the plant to self-seed itself, it is better if you do not remove some of the old shoots.

If you want to make a pruning for purely aesthetic reasons, this should be done best in the fall. If the plant is facing a very hard winter, it makes sense, however, if the cutting takes place in the coming spring. So the plant comes better over the winter, because the drooping leaves well protectes the remaining plant against a possible frost. Incidentally, you should not shorten the musk mallow by more than a third when cutting the shape.

Diseases and pests

Mallow rust is a major problem for the plant. This can be recognized by brown spots, which are clearly visible on the leaves of the plant. Unfortunately, mallow rust is very contagious and therefore spreads quickly. If an infestation is present, you should immediately cut back and dispose of the affected parts of the musk mallow, so that the infestation can not spread to the other parts of the plant. The treatment of the plant with a swill of field horsetail is also conceivable.


The musk mallow is rare, therefore, do not pick in the wild.

Pick blossoms immediately after blooming and harvest leaves without stems.

Spread flowers in a light and shady spot on paper or on a fine mesh and dry quickly.

Bundle the herb and dry in an airy and shady place.

Store the dried flowers and leaves protected from light.


The musk mallow is an extremely hardy plant. So there are no further measures required to bring the herbaceous plant safely over the winter.

Use of the musk mallow

Musk mallow in the kitchen

Use musk mallow for salad

Fresh shoots, young leaves and flowers can complement a salad. Carefully promotes digestion and stimulates the metabolism.

Use musk mallow as a vegetables

Leaves can be prepared like spinach or finely chopped into soups. Carefully promotes digestion and stimulates the metabolism.

Musk mallow as a medicinal herb

The musk mallow is said to have an expectorant and anti-inflammatory effect, which the plant can develop, for example, in the treatment of cough.

In order to use it as a medicinal plant, you can harvest the young shoots in spring and summer. The flowering herb and flowers can be collected very well only in summer, while the autumn is best for the harvest of seeds and for the removal of the roots.

The dried herb can be prepared as a tea, for example. This tea is then used to treat cough and gastrointestinal irritation. In case of inflammation of the throat and mouth, you can use the tea also for gargling. In the following ways you can use the traditional medicinal plant as well:

Preparation of a musk mallow tea

  • put 1 teaspoon of dried herb in a tea strainer in a cup
  • dash with lukewarm water
  • let it steep for 5-8 hours
  • stirring occasionally, do not boil

The tea may be sweetened with honey. Helps against cough and gastrointestinal irritation.

The tea can also be used to gargle, helps with inflammation in the mouth and throat.

Use musk mallow for an envelope

Envelopes made of fresh plant mush help against skin diseases and skin patches.

Use musk mallow for an ointment

The herb cooked in butter was used for enemas and for softening.

A brew made of musk mallow root

Strain a cooled decoction of the root and use as a hair care product.

Musk mallow can be used for these ailments and diseases

  • age spots
  • angina
  • cough
  • gynecological problems
  • intestinal inflammation
  • laxative
  • sore throat
  • stomach inflammation
  • wounds

Medicinal properties

  • anti-inflammatory
  • astringent
  • cough soothing
  • diuretic
  • emollient
  • expectorant
  • relieving
  • stimulating prolactin
  • sooth
  • wound healing

Side effects

Not known. However, mallow preparations can cause interactions with other medications, so please consult a doctor or the pharmacy beforehand. Due to its sedative effect, it is not advisable to take the musk mallow if the respiratory tract gets smoother because it reduces coughing, which is not good for mucousing.


Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Visiting this page can not replace the visit to the doctor. For serious or unclear complaints, consult your doctor.

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