Hollyhocks are the quintessential cottage garden flower. Although they are short-lived biennials, hollyhocks are once again becoming popular in American gardens.
Description of hollyhock: Plants grow 6 feet tall and usually have a single, unbranched flowering stalk that bears a dozen flowers. Flowers are single or double and come in many colors.
How to grow hollyhock: Plant in full sun in average soil. Water and fertilize hollyhocks throughout the growing season for the best appearance and bloom. Scratch a balanced granular fertilizer into the soil around plants when new foliage is 2 inches high, then switch to a high-phosphorus, water-soluble formula such as 10-30-20 in June. Apply the water soluble formula to the tops and undersides of leaves twice a week. Tall varieties can be cut back once or twice to create shorter plants that don't need staking. Cut back by half in May and again in mid-June. Plants will be about half the normal height and will flower several weeks later. After plants have flowered, remove all old flowering stems and old foliage around the bases of the plants. If you want plants to reseed, leave a few ripe flower stalks for this purpose.
Propagating hollyhock: By seed.
Uses for hollyhock: Plant at the back of the border and use shorter perennials to hide their bare lower stems.
Hollyhock related varieties: 'Indian Spring' is a mix of single flowers in white, yellow, rose, and pink. 'Powder Puffs' is a mix with 4-inch-wide fully double flowers in white, yellow, rose, and red.
Scientific name for hollyhock: Alcea rosea