Planting Hollyhock Flowers

Hollyhock truly is an old garden favorite, with a long blooming season. Usually considered a short-lived perennial in Zones 3-8, but may live for several years if stalks are cut off at their bases after the flowers fade. Makes an excellent screening plant to hide unsightly places. A good background companion for shorter plants. Hollyhock is very easy to grow, preferring a warm, sunny location sheltered from the wind. Will tolerate moist conditions. Bloom midsummer-early fall.


Four inch double flowers borne on wand-like stems. Blooms start near the base of the stem and move upward so that 1-1/2 to 2 feet of each stem is covered with bloom throughout the season.


Hairy leaves, 6-8" across, borne in low clumps. Hollyhock plants grow up to 6 feet in height.

Hollyhock will do well in almost any soil but prefers a well-drained soil with pH 6.0 - 8.0, from slightly acid to alkaline. If you are in doubt of your soil acidity, make a soil test with one of Burpeeā€™s Soil Test Kits listed in the catalog, or contact your local County Agricultural Agent about soil sampling procedures. A soil test will indicate what fertilizers or elements are needed in your soil.

Planting hollyhock may be done in spring or fall. Select a sunny location sheltered from the wind. Try to have the soil worked up at least one week before planting time.
Spring plantings will be safer in areas where winters are severe. Plant as soon as nursery stock is received. If plantings must be delayed, place the hollyhock in a cool, shaded area and keep the roots moist. Hollyhock seedlings are grown in a special planting mixture to promote fast growth. Do not pull this material away from the roots, but set the top of the planting material level with the soil line. Firm the soil around the plants and roots by pressing the soil with your hands. Water well to eliminate air pockets that may form around the roots.

Eighteen inches apart. If planted in rows, space rows at least 3 feet apart. Depending on how hollyhock grow in your area, some plants may require staking to support fragile stems in windy areas.


Will tolerate moist conditions if soil is welldrained. Water thoroughly during hot, dry weather. Keep water off leaves when watering, to prevent disease problems.

Remove any seed-heads that may form, so hollyhock will continue to bloom for several years. Most plants will live and bloom for several years in Zones 3-8 if stalks are cut off at the base after flowers have faded. They will not be as vigorous as new seedlings. Once established in the garden, hollyhock often grow voluntary from seeds dropped during the summer. These chance seedlings may and should be transplanted elsewhere in the garden.

Info About Holly Hocks.

hollyhock is extremely toxic/poisonous to dogs. Perhaps it is only toxic during the growing season, but not during the winter dormant season. A dog ate a root again today that about killed him., They can be planted whenever you choose. No special treatment is needed.

Alcea rosea
Mallow family (Malvaceae)

Description: This introduced plant is a biennial or short-lived perennial about 4-8' tall. The stout central stem is unbranched or sparingly branched; it is light green, terete, and more or less hairy. The blades of the alternate leaves are up to 8" long and across; they are palmately lobed (with 3-7 blunt lobes each) and crenate along their margins. Each leaf blade is orbicular or oval in outline and indented at the base where the petiole joins the blade. The upper surface of each leaf blade is medium green, slightly pubescent to hairless, and wrinkled from fine veins; the lower surface is light green and pubescent. The petioles of the leaves are as long or a little longer than their blades; they are light green and hairy.

The central stem terminates in a spike-like raceme of flowers; axillary flowers are produced from the axils of the upper leaves as well. These flowers occur individually or in small clusters along the central stem; they nod sideways from short hairy pedicels. Each flower spans about 3-5" when it is fully open; it has 5 petals, 5 sepals, 6-9 sepal-like bracts, and a columnar structure in the center with the reproductive organs (stamens toward the tip, thread-like stigmas below). The overlapping petals provide the flower with a funnelform shape; they are usually some shade of white, pink, or purplish red. The sepals are light green, ovate, and much smaller than the petals. The bracts of each flower are located underneath the sepals; they are light green, hairy, ovate, and joined together at the base. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer into the fall; a colony of plants will bloom for about 2 months. Each flower is replaced by a fruit containing a ring of 15-20 seeds (technically, a schizocarp). These seeds are oval, flattened, and notched on one side. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.

Cultivation: The preference is full to partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and a fertile loamy soil. Lower leaves will wither away during hot dry weather. Hollyhock is vulnerable to foliar disease, including rust.

Range & Habitat: Hollyhock occasionally escapes from cultivation, but rarely persists. Escaped plants have been collected primarily in NE and east central Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include areas along railroads, roadsides, vacant lots, and waste areas, especially in urban areas. Areas with a history of disturbance are preferred. Because of the showy flowers, Hollyhock is often cultivated in gardens. It is native to Eurasia.

Faunal Associations: The flowers are cross-pollinated by several kinds of bees. Various insects feed on Hollyhock. These include the caterpillars of the skipper Pyrgus communis (Common Checkered Skipper), the caterpillars of the butterflies Vanessa cardui (Painted Lady) and Strymon melinus (Gray Hairstreak), and the caterpillars of the moths Acontia aprica (Exposed Bird-Dropping Moth), Anomis erosa (Yellow Scallop Moth), Autographa precationis (Common Looper Moth), and Mamestra configurataApion longirostreRhopalapion longirostre) and Popillia japonica (Japanese Beetle). This last insect can cause major damage to this plant. The foliage is palatable to cattle and other hoofed mammalian herbivores.

Photographic Location: The upper photograph was taken at The Arboretum in Urbana, Illinois; the lower two photographs were taken of a plant at a flower garden of the same city.
(Bertha Armyworm). Other insects that feed on Hollyhock include (Hollyhock Weevil; a.k.a.

Comments: The meaning of the common name is probably 'Holy Mallow.' Hollyhock is one of the taller members of the Mallow family. It superficially resembles one of the native Hibiscus spp. (Rose Mallows), which are perennial wetland plants. Hollyhock differs in having floral bracts that are ovate, while a Rose Mallow has floral bracts that are narrowly linear. The structures of their fruits also differ: the fruit of Hollyhock consists of a ring of seeds, while the fruit of Rose Mallow is a 5-celled capsule. Some of the taller Malva spp. (Mallows) also resemble Hollyhock, but they have only 1-3 bracts per flower; Hollyhock has 6-9 bracts per flower. An alternative scientific name for this species is Althaea rosea.

Click Here To See More Pictures Of Holly Hock Plants.


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