Malcolmia: characteristics and cultivation techniques

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Malcolmia (lat. Malcolmia ) is a widespread herbaceous perennial of the Cruciferous family. The genus includes about 40 species, most of which are considered weeds. However, many varieties of this plant have found use in ornamental gardening.


Malcolmia is characterized by rapid development. In a short time grows up to 30 cm in height. Stems erect or decumbent, with intense branching at the top. The leaves are obovate, dense, with small teeth along the edge, have a short light pile on the surface and petioles.

Inflorescences loose, in the form of a brush. They consist of small four-petal buds of white, lilac, pink and other shades. The flowers are 10 mm in diameter. Flowering lasts up to 7 – 8 weeks. The flowers exude a delicate light fragrance. Malcolmia is valued for its lush flowering, during which it is a very beautiful sight.


Below are the two most popular varieties of malcolmia, intended for cultivation in gardens of the middle lane.

Primorskaya. This species grows up to 20 cm. It has thin ascending stems with branching in the upper part. The leaves are small, ovoid, deep green in color, with a slight pubescence on the surface.

As you can see in the photo, the flowers of the seaside malcolmia are wide open, consist of four regular-shaped petals:

This species is characterized by long flowering, which can be observed from the first summer days until frost.

African. The stem of this type of malcolmia can be both ascending and decumbent. Branching begins from the central part with a large number of outgoing shoots. Leaf plates are oval, densely covered with white pile. The flowers of African malcolmia are enclosed in loose racemose inflorescences. The shades of the buds are mostly light, with a predominance of pink and lilac.


Malcolmia is grown using seeds and vegetatively. In mild climates, the plant is grown as a perennial, so vegetative propagation can be used in this case. In mid-latitudes, the flower is bred as an annual, so it is propagated only with the help of seeds.

Due to the fragility of the root system of malcolmia, the seed is immediately planted on the site, without resorting to the seedling propagation method. For breeding this crop, open places in the garden are chosen, where it will be regularly lit by the sun.

If the plant does not have enough sunlight, it will begin to actively increase the green mass to the detriment of flowering.

This plant develops well in any, even poor, substrates, but heavy and acidic soils should be avoided. Loamy substrates containing lime are optimally suited for a flower. In addition, the soil must be loose, drained, with free access of oxygen to the roots.

Planting seeds on the site is carried out in the middle – late spring, depending on which region this crop is grown. It is important that the sowing is carried out in well-warmed soil on a fine warm day.

Flowering can be observed in the second half of June. It is also possible to sow malcolmia before winter, immediately after the first frost. In the spring, shoots will appear together, after which they will need to be thinned out, leaving the strongest ones. Flowering plants planted in late autumn will come in May – June.

In order to facilitate the subsequent care of the malcolmia, before planting the plants, work must be done to prepare the site. It is dug up, leveled, weeds and stones are removed, shallow furrows are made.

Seed material is evenly scattered in them, then covered with a layer of sand. Sprouts hatch after 1 – 1.5 weeks. Next, carry out regular care for young plants.


Malcolmia is one of the hardiest plants in the garden. Even a novice gardener gets carried away with caring for her. The main thing is not to forget about the flower and periodically pay attention to it.

  • Watering. Watering this crop should be moderate. There is no need to frequently moisten the soil, but it is not necessary to overdry the substrate either. It is enough to irrigate the bushes 1 – 2 times a week. Excess moisture can be detrimental to Malcolmia when grown outdoors.
  • Topdressing. Abundant flowering can only be observed on nutrient substrates, so you can not do without top dressing, which will need to be applied 2 to 3 times per season, using a mineral complex for garden flowers.
  • Other agrotechnical activities. For longer flowering, wilted inflorescences need to be cut off. Instead, new buds will form on the bush. In the first month after planting, the areas around young malcolmia bushes are loosened, weeds are eliminated. Over time, the plant grows strongly, forming a dense carpet, so the need for loosening and weeding disappears.
  • Pest control. Malcolmia is extremely rarely affected by diseases; insect pests also bypass this plant. Sometimes a cruciferous flea settles on a bush and eats foliage. To destroy a harmful insect, insecticides are used, for example, Aktara.

Use in the garden

This culture is used to decorate borders, garden paths, fill empty areas, where it forms lush colorful carpets. In the flower beds, a low flower is planted in the foreground. Malcolmia is also grown in flowerpots, used to decorate terraces, arbors in the garden, loggias.

Harmonious neighbors for this flower are clarkes, irises, forget-me-nots, marigolds, nigella, mattiola, cornflowers, zinnias and other similar flowering plants.

See what Malcolmia looks like in a flower bed surrounded by other flowers:

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