Hollyhock (alcea), the old-fashioned summer biennial, has been re-discovered by modern gardeners who prize its dramatic habit and bright flowers. Plant this prolific bloomer where it can be admired by visitors and family alike.
Hollyhocks are undisciplined growers---they can grow as tall as 8 feet. Plant them against fences, garages and buildings to shelter as well as support them.
Use hollyhocks on the difficult-to-plant southern exposures along driveways and along fences. They thrive in full sun. In all but far northern zones, they may be grown on the eastern side of buildings so they enjoy summer's morning sun.
Hollyhocks prefer moist soil. Grow them in well-drained swales around rural mailboxes at the end of the driveway and along property lines.
Grow hollyhocks at the back of large borders but give them enough room for good air circulation. Shade their roots with other perennials but don't crowd them---they need air to avoid developing "rust", a fungus that afflicts hollyhocks. Remove and destroy affected leaves.
Rivers and Streams
Plant wild hollyhocks (Iliamna rivularis) in sunny areas along streams and river banks. In contrast to its domesticated biennial cousins, wild hollyhock is a perennial that can remain dormant for long periods.
- Time-Life Gardener's Guide, Perennials; 1988
- Flower and Garden Magazine
- Hollyhocks-A Summer Favorite
- Wild Hollyhocks
- Hollyhock Q and A
hollyhock, biennial, garden, old-fashioned, flowers
About this Author
Laura Reynolds began writing professionally in 1974. She has worked as author and editor in nonfiction, professional journals and newspapers. Reynolds has also served in numerous appointed and elected local offices. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from Northern Illinois University.