Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) is a perennial plant indigenous to Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Historically used for creating the marshmallow confection, the plant is now predominantly grown for making herb teas and as beneficial insect attracting shrub. Marshmallow’s creamy white roots are extremely mucilaginous and have a wonderful flavor when simmered. Second year plants can reach up to six feet tall and form gorgeous white/light purple blossoms. How large plants grow contingent of how much water they receive. Provide plants generous spacing, as root crowns can increase substantially year over year.
Marshmallow is a perennial plant frost hardy to zones 3 and above. Large stalks and flowers form on second year plants. We recommend waiting to harvest roots until their second year of establishment, as improper harvesting may kill first year plants. With that said, first year root harvests are possible if you start seeds in late winter/early spring. Seeds are certified organic by Oregon Tilth.