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Alcea (AL-see-uh)

Common Name:  Hollyhock

Light:  - Full sun to part shade

Soil:  Average to rich, well-drained

Moisture:  Average

Blooms:  Summer

Zones:  2 - 9

Alcea rosea

Alcea Description and Cultural Information

Alcea rosea, hollyhock. 2 - 8'. Hollyhocks are tall, upright biennials or short-lived perennials. They have rounded or lobed foliage at the base with spikes of single or double flowers in a wide range of colors. 'Old Farmyard Strain' produces single flowers of yellow, pink, red, or shades in between. 'The Watchman' AKA 'Night Watchman' produces single flowers in dark maroons to near black and brown. 'Powderpuff Mix' is a double hollyhock in soft pastel colors.

How to Grow:  Hollyhocks are best grown in average to rich, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. They are often short lived, so be sure to collect seeds or allow them to self sow for a continuous crop. Seedlings transplant easily during their first year and in the spring. Staking may be necessary to hold up the tall flower stalks. If leaf miners or other insects become a problem, treat with a systemic insecticide such as orthene. To also prevent rust or other fungal diseases, choose orthenex instead of orthene, or dust with sulfur. In addition it is a good idea to burn or discard (not compost) any foliage that is infected with rust and to burn or discard all of the dead foliage in the fall. This way the rust spores will not overwinter in the garden, reducing the occurrence of rust in the future.

Landscape uses:  Plant hollyhock at the back of the border or as a vertical accent in a large perennial bed. They are also great in the cottage garden or along walls and fences.

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