Hollyhocks are often associated with Victorian era cottage gardens. They are available in a wide range of colors. Even black!
They are biennial or short-lived perennials. The first year they put on root and foliage growth and in the second year they flower, set seed and die. There are varieties that are short-lived perennials and will flower in their first year when planted early enough in spring or started indoors in winter.
They can reach heights of 9 feet tall and can tower above a garden and add a lovely vertical element to your yard. Little maintenance other than to be staked and cutting the stalks back after flowering. They do need to be protected from insects and fungal diseases such as rust. Keep rust to a minimum by remembering to water from below (using a soaker or drip hose,) treat with a fungicide, and make sure the plant has good air circulation.
Hollyhocks are not suitable for growing in pots. Hollyhocks support the lifecycle of painted lady butterflies as a host plant for their caterpillars and attract other pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds.
Tips on Hollyhocks
- full sun/part shade
- moist, rich, well drained soil
- if planting seeds, they only need to be planted right below the soil, no more than ¼ inch
- plant 2 feet apart
- most varieties will only live two to three years
- easily reseed them selves
- do best in a South or West facing position
- cut the flower spike off once the seeds have dispersed
- bloom July to September
- can be planted in proximity to black walnut trees because they are tolerant of the chemical juglone that is leached into the soil by the tree.
Tips on Hollyhocks: Growing Hollyhocks Successfully