Old Fashioned Hollyhocks

Old Fashioned Hollyhocks
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Old Fashioned HollyhocksHollyhocks (Alcea rosea) are one of the oldest flowers known, having been found by some of the earliest recorded visitors to China. I'd say that qualifies it as old fashioned to say the least!

It's not surprising that the hollyhock has been a favorite for so long with it's charming saucer-like blooms that resemble tissue paper in their delicacy. The plant grows from 5 to 9 foot tall with the blooms measuring 3 to 5 inches across.

Because of their height, hollyhocks look wonderful planted along a shed or barn wall, where they will decorate the side of the building. You can also use hollyhocks along fence rows where they add country charm to the landscape.

Hollyhocks bloom from June until early fall and the flowers come in many colors and in single or double blooms. Sow the seeds indoors this winter for planting out after the last frost, or start from seed during the summer for blooms the next year.

You can also buy plants at a garden center to set out. Hollyhocks are considered a summer blooming biennial. They require a rich, well drained soil that has been deeply dug and enriched with compost or manure. The plants should be spaced about 2 foot apart because of their size.

Full sun is best, but hollyhocks will tolerate light shade. Be sure to deadhead (snip off) the dead blossoms to help the plant bloom longer. Hollyhocks can be prone to rust disease, which is reddish and can cause the leaves to wilt and yellow. If this happens cut off the leaves that have been damaged as best you can and when the plant has finished blooming cut it to the ground and dispose of it.

Over the years I've heard complaints about the hollyhock because of it's size and growth habit, but I think it's a stunning sight to see it's beautiful old fashioned blooms in a summer landscape. As long as it's been in existence, I would imagine I am not the only one who feels this way!

Image: Wikimedia.org


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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