Do you have any room on your windowsill or greenhouse where you could grow some marsh mallow seedlings? Butterfly Conservation has launched a three-year project to protect some of our most rare moths. The marsh mallow moth Hydraecia osseola only lives in sites along the Kent/Sussex border and Medway where marsh mallow Althaea officinalis grows.
Seeds are available now for planting inside or outside in April. The moths are picky. They like large clumps of marsh mallow plants – at least 500 flowering spikes – along field margins, pond edges and ditch banks. The charity is asking people to grow seedlings that will later be carefully removed and replanted in great quantities locally.
Marsh mallow plants favour open, damp, low-lying places, marshy places in associated grazing levels. The plants can be sustained in drier areas but active control of other encroaching plant species is often required. It takes several years after introducing plant clumps before the root system can support the moths.
Image Credits: Butterfly Conservation .