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July 2010
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Sidalcea (botanical name of the family Malvaceae)

Sidalcea is also known as checkerbloom or checkermallows as it contains several species of flowers. Sidalcea is a genus of the botanical family Malvaceae. Sidalcea and members of Sidalcea are Perennials. They grow in height of upto 60cm to 2.5metres. The flowers are Purple, white or pink in color and the leaves are of palmately lobed types. The flowers look similar to hollyhock atop loon erect stems. Some common names for Sidalcea include Prairie mallow, False mallow, Miniature hollyhock and Checkerbloom. Sidalcea blooms throughout summer.
They are native of Western North America; Washington, Oregon, British Columbia regions. They grow in low elevation, meadows and tidal marshes and in temperate climate. Their Zone range is from 05-08. This is a tap-rooted plant. Sidalcea is pretty important for butterflies and their larvae and for humming birds. Different species of Sidalcea are annual checkerbloom,meadow checkerbloom, white checkerbloom, white checkerbloom, waxy checkerbloom, Valley checkerbloom, Henderson’s checker mallow, chaparral checkerbloom, hairy checkerbloom, maple leaf checkerbloom, dwarf checkerbloom, Nelsen’s checker mallow, salt spring checkerbloom,etc.

Growing conditions for Sidalcea
• Sow the seeds in containers in autumn or spring.
• For freshness, keep the seeds refrigerated until planting.
• Needs full sun to light shade
• Needs humus-rich and moderately fertile soil.
• Keep the soil moist or wet.
• Sow at a depth of about 3mm.
• Space them at about 25cm apart.
• Larger species will need spacing of about 50cm apart.
• Indoors the seeds are sown two months before the last frost.
• Germinate the seeds at a temperature of 10 degrees centigrade .
• Germinate them from two to seven weeks.
• Once the Sidalcea plants are ready transplant them outdoors following the last frost.

Care for Sidalcea plants
• Needs full sun to light shade.
• The soil should be manure rich.
• they should be watered in prolonged dryness.
• As Sidalcea plants are tall, they need staking.
• For enhancing second bloom, cut back once flowering has finished.
• These plants can be propagated by division in the autumn.

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