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Larry Sagers Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved

For those who like old-fashioned flowers gone modern, consider the hollyhock. These plants were popular in Grandma’s garden and are equally popular in many gardens right now. There are many beautiful hollyhocks at Thanksgiving Point and at the Thanksgiving Gardens in Lehi, around the Lion House in Salt Lake City and many other locations.

Alcea rosea--Hollyhock

Hardiness Zone: 3 to 8 Height: 6 ft Spacing: 18 in Type: herbaceous perennial Flowers: Pink, white, red, purple, yellow

Comments: Hollyhocks are showing their glorious colors right now. They are biennials but self-seed giving the appearance of a perennial. These short-lived plants produce flowers covering a wide range of colors.

Alcea prefers a rich soil with lots of organic matter. Give full sun as the plant dislikes any amount of shade. Because the coarse foliage is attacked by diseases, especially rust, plant hollyhock near the back of the garden. The diseased foliage will be hidden by shorter plants.

The plants are susceptible to two other pests. Spider mites attack the plants under hot, dry dusty conditions and suck the juices from the leaves. The hollyhock weevil eats the leaves and leaves them full of holes. Spray the plants off with water and use registered pesticides only when necessary.

Pinching one or two times early in the growing season gives shorter, plants with more branches. Dormant terminal buds are sometimes injured by freezing or over watering, so provide a mulch for winter protection.

Double flowered types may need staking as they fall over after a rain because the flowers will hold a large amount of water.

Propagation: Hollyhock are best propagated by planting new plants grown from seed. Plant seed any time between May and September. Young plants, grown from late season planting, need winter protection. The seed germinates in 2 to 3 weeks at 60 degrees.

Cultivars: 'Chater's Double' - The double, ball-shaped flowers are red, pink, white or yellow

'Country Garden Mix' - Single flowers of pink, white, and yellow.

'Indian Spring' - A mix of white, pink, red and yellow single flowers. 'Majorette Mixed' - A dwarf form with a height of about 30 inches. The flowers are large, semi-double flowers in pastel colors. 'Nigra' - Dark maroon flowers are almost black in the center.

'Old Barnyard Mix' - A mix of light and dark colors, biennials that reseed each year, single flowers. 'Peaches 'n' Dreams' - Double, pink flowers have yellow centers. 'Powderpuffs Mixed' - The double flowers are an inch larger than other double hollyhocks. The flowers are yellow, white, pink, scarlet and salmon

Rugosa - This species of Alcea has yellow flowers produced on spikes 6 feet tall.

'Summer Carnival' - Double flowers in a wide range of colors are produced even on lower parts of the stem.

'Watchman Strain' - Dark red, single flowers.

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