Perennials at Gorge Top Gardens: Alcea
Hollyhocks take us back in time to our
grandmothers gardens. There is soft spot in almost every gardeners heart for this
classic beauty. If you are planning a cottage garden this plant is an absolute must
have. Flowers come in both single and double forms. The flowers are carried on stems that
can reach up to 8 feet depending on the variety. Plant in a well drained, neutral soil and
make sure they get full sun - plants will not tolerate shade. Feed in early spring
with generous amounts of rotted manure and continue feeding every three weeks with fish
emulsion. When pruning always leave a few spikes so that they can set seed and
Zones: 3 - 8
Problems: Hollyhock rust - see notes
Cutting: Cut while most flower buds are still unopen
Notes: If you start to notice orange bumps or blisters on the leaves -
pick of the leaves at once and dispose of (do not compost). Hollyhock rust is worse during
Growing Hollyhocks from Seed:
Start seeds in a 3" - 4" pot in mid-February. Plant the seeds about 1/2"
deep and cover with soil mix. Seeds germinate best at soil temperatures of around
65-70F. Check the pots often to make sure the soil does not dry out but do not over
water as the seeds rot easily. Seedlings will begin to appear in about 2 weeks.
Cut back on the water and let the soil dry between waterings. Provide
bright light to ensure that the seedlings do not stretch. You can keep the Hollyhock
seedlings in the pots until it is safe to transplant to the garden. Hollyhocks can
also be sown directly into the garden in mid-April.