Around the hollyhock, plant flowers and plants with similar growing needs. With its preference for full sun and well-drained soil, the hollyhock is a summer-blooming flower that comes back year after year as a commanding presence in the garden. Think about flowers that tolerate both sun and light shade, in the event the hollyhock creates a smattering of shade. Bring in colorful flowers to complement the hollyhocks. Vibrant green plants allow the hollyhock to pop, so consider low-growing ground covers.
October Skies Aster
As the hollyhocks begin to die down in late summer, the October skies aster begins its emergence with hundreds of purple to blue blooms. This particular aster is a low, spreading perennial that when planted around a hollyhock, complements the flower but without competing for space. October skies aster only grows 1 to 3 feet tall and wide with a moderate growth rate. Its spreading ability surrounds the hollyhocks with bright blossoms. October skies asters prefer full sun, as does the hollyhock, but withstand a dappling of shade, ideal in the event the hollyhock casts shade to the garden below. Deer and frost tolerant, October skies asters create a showy garden throughout the fall and winter months. The USDA hardiness zone for planting is 4 to 8.
Astilbe, also called false spirea, are hardy perennial flowers that bloom in early to midsummer, right around the time of the hollyhock blooming season. Astilbe blooms grow 24 to 48 inches tall and are ideal surrounding the hollyhocks because of their bright colors and similar upright shape. The cotton candy-like colors include white, pink, red and lavender. Astilbe thrive in bright to partial shade and evenly moist soil. Astilbe blooms are also deer resistant, creating a barrier around the hollyhock blooms that deer enjoy. Astilbe make ideal fresh-cut flowers or dried and added as an accent to potpourri. Astilbe roots are shallow and won't interfere with the hollyhock. The USDA hardiness zone for planting is 4 to 8.
St. John's Wort
Contrast with the hollyhock blooms to help set off their showy foliage by planting an evergreen ground cover. A rapidly growing evergreen with similar site requirements is St. John's wort or Aaron's beard. The low, spreading form grows 12 to 18 inches tall and looks striking surrounding the bright blooms of the hollyhock. The dark green leaves on St. John's wort turn a purplish color in the fall to light up the landscape. Their spring and summer blooming yellow flowers are single stemmed and complement the bright flower blooms of the hollyhock. Like the hollyhock, St. John's wort prefers sunny skies and well-drained soil. The USDA hardiness zone for planting is 6 to 10.