I'm doing some research before installing a fruit forest as I can't grow vegetables on the STUN (sheet total utter neglect) method, and was wondering if the Marsh Mallow plant is a nitrogen fixer or not. It's year two on the plant, and see it staying where it is until it struggles due to shade. The area experiences flooding every 5-10 years 1 foot down in another part of the yard. The trees will also be shade to protect chickens from hawks in a few years

My main nitrogen fixer (unsure what the others will support in the fruit forest) for about 24 trees will be the goji berry with a list of other trees/shrubs over a flood plane edge being:
Russian Mulberry (make mom happy)
Paw Paw Tree
Red Colossal Gooseberry
Darrow Everbearing Blackberry (make mom happy)
American Persimmon
Dwarf Flowering Cherry
Maypop Passion Flower
Fig Tree (make mom happy)
Durham Raspberry (make mom happy)
20th Century Asian Pear (could make mom happy)

If you feel I should be concerned about any of the fruit trees please include in your answer.

2 Answers 2


No, Marsh Mallow does not have the nesicarry stuctures to be a nitrogen fixer. Some well suited nitrogen fixers are Midnight Magic Ceanothus,Dark Star Ceanothus,and Ovens Wattle Acacia Tree. There are much more nitrogen fixing plant and would suggest doing some research on the ones best suited for your area. Although it seems you already have. Before you plant your fruit trees the flooding should be adressed first being that flooding will cause damage to your fruit trees. Potentially, killing them. Another thing to look at would be your soil parameters to make sure your trees can grow in the soil you are providing them flooding sometimes causes some changes to the soil due to bacteria growth and the anerobic environment that it creates in the soil. So, its always best to check at least before you plant.

  • are those USDA zone 4A, and fruit bearing? It's a natural flood plane as the water table is so high, and I plan to make the trees "spider" (see Back to Eden). I get a 1 year warranty on the "tree starts". The soil is last ice age tilled "grass compost". I'm also planning to order online. Aug 23, 2020 at 7:25

I'm more concerned about your plant list than the marsh mallow, although that plant is itself very uncommon in the US.

Among the rest of the plants you've listed, using the USDA's PLANTS application, the following are not hardy for your area:

  • Passionflower - hardy only to zone 5b at best (illinois is the farthest north you'll find it)
  • Paw paw is zone 5a
  • Persimmon is zone 6 (mid-Illinois is its northernmost extent)
  • Actinidia (Kiwi) is at least zone 6 if not warmer.

In addition, no fig grows in-ground farther north than zone 6.

This doesn't even take into account the flood-prone soils you're planning on growing them in. I'm afraid that you're setting yourself up for failure.

  • the seller says zone 4/5 and 2 hours away is 5A so they should work here by logic. you may be thinking about a different species also (i.e. hardy kiwi is 3-7 with the possibility of up to 9). they're also saying that hazelnuts grow where they shouldn't.(forestag.com) Aug 23, 2020 at 16:17
  • It's up to you, of course, but personally, I would bet on the USDA against someone who's trying to get your money. If you were planting the passionflower against a south wall protected from the west I think you could have a shot at keeping it for a few years, but in an open orchard-ish environment I think you'll lose it after a winter or two. I knew someone who planted a Paw Paw in 5a and it would die back to the ground every 3rd winter or so. As for the Actinidia, the ornamental varieties are good into zone 4, but the edible ones aren't. Not sure why the -1, since I presented scientific facts
    – Jurp
    Aug 23, 2020 at 19:19
  • 1
    I have a growers wholesale catalogue and definitive academic books on trees and shrubs where I live in USDA 4. Strangely enough the grower's catalogue is always quite optimistic by one zone as opposed to the reference books.
    – kevinskio
    Aug 24, 2020 at 12:47
  • it's also in one of the biggest sales in the country which is at the MN grand stand every year except this year. Aug 24, 2020 at 15:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.