Friday, April 05, 2013


Among the bazillion or so plants we brought in from Annie's Annuals and Perennials this week (that is, we do believe, an accurate number...), there were several fun varieties of Hollyhocks that we wanted to share with you all!

Hollyhocks are actually the plant genus Alcea, part of the mallow family Malvacae; Lavatera is too, which is why they do look somewhat similar. Hollyhocks, however, don't take on the shrub like appearance that Lavatera does, instead growing large, wide 'bases' of single petal leaves, and stocks that can get upwards of ten feet tall. They are native to Asia, with a few species said to be native to Egypt and Europe. They are generally quite drought resistant, and do well in sunny spots with less than great soil. When happy, they get BIG and reseed, so give 'em space, but man oh man, are they a fun addition to your garden!

Alcea rosea 'Nigra' "Black Hollyhock"

Now, we must admit we are a sucker for ANY dark blooming plant; it is our deep rooted fantasy to one day create a 'goth garden' for a client, so we are biased, but still, this plant is AMAZING! Grows easy, reseeds and tough as...well, cement. We had planted one in our mom's parkway, an area that rarely got any water, had horrible soil, and was a favorite dumping ground for cement remnants of our younger brother's stone making projects. These suckers FLOURISHED!  They were over 6 feet high, reseeding like mad, and looked so amazing that people would literally stop their cars to look! How's that for an endorsement?

Hollyhock Alcea 'Halo Cerise'

These Halo varieties are new to us, but we love them, they remind us of Hibiscus and Hawaiian vacations! Slightly smaller than the other alceas,  these hollyhocks produce masses of 5", magenta-fading-to-deep-purple blooms; start blooming in the first heat of summer & keep the show going until it gets cold. Attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies too! Plant in the back of your beds for an amazing 'anchor' or 'show stopper' plant! 

Hollyhock Alcea 'Halo Pink'

Similar to 'Cerise', but with a pink flower and yellow center. So cute!

Hollyhock Alcea 'Halo White'

How cheerful is THIS plant????  5” blossoms that are fresh-white and centered with a splash of lemon yellow, this is the ultimate cheerful summer plant!

Alcea rugosa “Yellow Fig-Leaved Hollyhock”

We just love this dainty variety, and it's also quite hardy and rust resistant as well, a definite bonus feature! Long blooming and bushy enough to never need staking, they also will return each spring for a good 4-5 years, meaning they aren't your typical biennial Hollyhock. Like most Hollyhocks, it too will attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies!

All of our Hollyhocks are in 4" containers and priced at just $4.50. Stop by and take a few home today; don't forget, our gardens are PACKED right now with awesome plants - see us soon!

And a note on rust, from grower Annie's Annuals on Hollyhocks and rust: "A little note:
Hollyhocks are notoriously rusty creatures, and even those types that are less prone to rust still get a few spots in the garden, particularly if you overhead water or live somewhere with fog! The particular species of rust that effects hollyhocks, Puccinia malvacearum, effects only members of the Mallow family, and will not spread to other plants. To control rust, simply remove the rusty leaves, and refrain from overhead watering. You should also plant your hollyhocks in as much sun as you can provide. Our plants have to be overhead watered in their 4" pots, and though we take many preventative measures to control rust, it is very hard to eradicate it completely -after all, the spores are everywhere (they're in your garden right now!), airborne, and particularly drawn to hollyhocks. We may send out plants that have a few spots of rust now and again, but on the whole, the plants are healthy, and we try not to send out any material that is heavily infested. Rust very seldom kills the plant, and if the plants are in good soil in good sun, and watered correctly, rust is primarily a cosmetic problem. Even the species hollyhocks that are less rust prone than the Alcea rosea hybrids sometimes get a little bit of rust! It's true! There's just no way to have everything in the garden be completely sterile, you know? If you unilaterally object to the occasional rust spot, it could be that hollyhocks are not for you!"

1 comment:

Sue said...

I love, love, love Annie's hollyhocks! There are the BEST you will ever find!!