Gardening

Hollyhocks: Add Old World Charm To Cottage Gardens And Borders

Hollyhocks: Add Old World Charm To Cottage Gardens And Borders

Hollyhocks

Photo Compliments of Hindrik Sijens

Alcea rosea, or more commonly called hollyhocks are easily identifiable by the tall spikes of gorgeous, brightly colored single or double brightly colored flowers. Hollyhocks are old garden favorites featuring huge (4 to 5 inch in diameter) outward-facing, single or double flowers that come in a wide variety of colors including reds, pinks, whites, and light yellows. The flowers grow on rigid, towering spikes or spires which typically reach a height of 5 to 8 feet tall and usually do not require staking. Foliage features large, heart-shaped (3, 5 or 7 lobes), rough lower leaves which become progressively smaller toward the top of the spire. Hollyhocks have a long bloom period that runs from June to August.

How To Make Your Hollyhocks Thrive

Hollyhocks thrive in well-drained soil in full sun where the moisture is average to medium. This is a very robust plant that tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and some light shade. The one condition that it will not tolerate is wet winter soils. Hollyhocks are a biennial or short-lived perennial. If you are gowning them from seed, plant seeds in August or September for bloom the following year. Although short-lived, hollyhocks easily self-seed and can establish colonies in the garden that persist for years as if they were perennials.

General Hollyhocks Information

Pests and Diseases

Hollyhock foliage is susceptible to rust, leaf spot, and anthracnose. If you have leaf spot remove infected leaves when first noticed. This fungus survives on old plant debris so it is important to destroy old plant parts at the end of the growing season. The diseased foliage typically occurs at the base of the plants where it can be masked by shorter growing perennials. Spider mites and Japanese beetle can also be problems. Foliage can become rather tattered and unkempt in appearance when attacked by the aforementioned insects or diseases, but the flowers generally are not affected. Hollyhocks may need staking, particularly if they are not protected from wind.

Propagation

If you are gowning them from seed, plant seeds in August or September for bloom the following year. Although short-lived, hollyhocks easily self-seed and can establish colonies in the garden that persist for years as if they were perennials.

Garden Uses

Hollyhocks provide excellent architectural height, contrast, and a certain amount of old world charm to cottage gardens and border backgrounds. This plant can also be effective when grown against walls or fences.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Malvaceae
  • Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 2 to 10
  • Height: 5 to 8 feet
  • Spread: 1 to 2 feet
  • Bloom Time: June to August
  • Bloom Description: White, pink, & red (single and double blooms)
  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Dry to medium
  • Growth Habit: Clumps
  • Growth Pace: Moderate grower
  • Suggested Use: Annual, naturalize
  • Attracts: Hummingbirds, butterflies
  • Tolerates: Rabbits
  • Characteristics: Self seeds; showy seed heads
  • Uses: Beds and Borders, Container

Photo Search

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Flicker – Hollyhocks Photos

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for an informative post. I love hollyhocks in theory, and I have always dreamed of them growing against the side of my someday garden house. Until now. They can’t tolerate wet winter soil? Truly? That’s exactly what I have. So now I will have to find a substitute dream. Sigh.
    debsgarden recently posted..Winter ViewsMy Profile

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