aka Alcea rosea
Hollyhocks can easily be started from seeds indoors, and transplanted outdoors. They add drama, colour and height to your garden. These plants are likely to attract some wildlife to your garden such as hummingbirds and butterflies! Hollyhocks can get a little “leggy” and it’s often suggested to plant dense plants in front of them to hide this. Once planted, Hollyhocks can be difficult to move. It’s suggested to plant them in a spot where you won’t have to move them.
Hollyhock ‘Sunshine’, Hollyhock ‘Peaches ‘n’ Dreams, Hollyhock ‘Creme de Cassis’, Hollyhock ‘Blacknight’, Hollyhock ‘Halo Red’, Hollyhock ‘Halo Apricot’, Hollyhock ‘Halo Lavender’, Hollyhock ‘The Bride’, Hollyhock ‘O Hara’, Hollyhock ‘Banana’
Full sun to partial shade
water + feeding
not too thirsty
Will tolerate moist conditions if soil is well drained. Water thoroughly during hot, dry weather. Keep water off leaves when watering, to prevent disease problems. The mistake many novice hollyhock growers make is to plant this flower in soil that’s too dry. If you are planting seeds, sow them outside about a week before last frost. If you are planting seedlings out, wait about two to three weeks after last frost. Hollyhock seeds only need to be planted right below the soil, no more than 1/4-inch (.6 cm.) deep
These flowers are also non-poisonous to dogs or cats, but you need to be careful about the stems and leaves as they may have resin or fiber which may cause some skin allergies.
Hollyhock blooms are about four inch double flowers borne on wand-like stems. They have fuzzy leaves, that grow to be about 6-8″ across. A hollyhock plant can grow to be almost 6ft tall!
blooms for years
Remove any seed-heads that may form, so hollyhock will continue to bloom for several years. Most plants will live and bloom for several years if stalks are cut off at the base after flowers have faded. They will not be as vigorous as new seedlings. Once established in the garden, hollyhock often grow voluntary from seeds dropped during the summer. These chance seedlings may and should be transplanted elsewhere in the garden.
Hollyhocks symbolize the circle of life, ambition, fertility, and abundance. They have traditionally been planted near the front door of homes to welcome prosperity. Egyptians frequently placed wreaths of hollyhocks with the mummified to help them in their journey to the afterlife.
beyond the basics
soil & potting
Hollyhock will do well in almost any soil but prefers a well-drained soil. The most important factor is good air circulation, so do not crowd plants or plant too close to structures, hedges or other plants.
Hollyhocks make excellent companions for Dahlias, Clematis, Shasta Daisies, Shrub Roses, Baby’s Breath, Black-eyed Susan, or Climbing Roses.
Hollyhocks have single or double, cup-shaped flowers with little or no stalk and bloom on tall spikes. Hollyhocks come in a wide variety of colours: blue, pink, purple, red, white, yellow and even black.
Rust is a leaf disease to which hollyhocks are especially prone. It is worse on older plants and can be kept in check by replacing plants every couple of years.
rusty looking leaves?
Rust is a common problem with hollyhocks and can cause the plants to look ragged. Brown, yellow or orange spots appear as the fungus forms and grows. The damaged leaves will fall off as the disease progresses. Control fungi through proper removal and disposal of infected plants and with a general fungicide.
High winds or torrential rains can damage hollyhocks because of the sheer height of the flowers. The stalks are strong, but can be knocked around by a summer storm. A trellis positioned behind the hollyhocks gives you a place to anchor the plants. Garden twine, looped around the stalk and fastened to the trellis, keeps the hollyhocks in place when strong winds hit the garden.
holes in leaves?
Japanese beetles love the large leaves of the hollyhock plant and create unsightly holes in the foliage. The hibiscus sawfly looks like an elongated housefly with an orange spot just below the head. The larvae of these pests eat the foliage and can completely destroy the leaves on several plants in a short time. Insecticidal soaps and beetle traps generally aid in ridding the hollyhocks of the pests.
Some caterpillars cause hollyhock stems to break and leaves to wilt. Close examination shows small round holes in the stems. Control stalk borers by slitting each affected stem lengthwise, removing the borers, and binding the stems together. Practice clean cultivation and burn all weeds, stems and plant remains likely to harbor over-wintering eggs.
A fungal stem canker attacks hollyhocks at bloom time on rare occasions. Stem lesions are first dark brown and later ash-gray. As these spots girdle the stem the part above wilts, collapses, breaks off and dies. Remove and destroy infected plants or plant parts as soon as you notice them. Disinfect clippers and other tools after using them on cankered plants. Space plants farther apart to minimize splash-borne infection.