When I was in WV I had a nice vegetable garden. about 10 ft away there was an existing hedge of Malva Zebrina. The plant was robust and just over six ft., it was covered with aphids but also dripping with lacewings and ladybug larva. I never had any persistent problems in the garden with aphids. I wonder if this plant has been used as a companion or sacrifice planting.
I have always known it as Malva sylvestris, or French Mallow. I love it, and all hosts for the reproductive cycles of predatory insects. The other ones I see that simply swarm with predatory insects in-season are borage, lovage, and (though it's invasive) Japanese knotweed, which I wouldn't introduce, but will clear mechanically just before seeds form just to keep the predatory species around.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
He was giving me directions and I was powerless to resist. I cannot resist this tiny ad:
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