The Delightful World of Hollyhocks

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Discover the Joy of Growing Hollyhocks

Nothing screams cottage garden like tall elegant hollyhocks swaying in the breeze.

My mom related to me that back when she was a little girl her parents always planted hollyhocks in front of the outhouse.

They grew tall enough to obscure the building and bring a touch of elegance to an otherwise rustic building.

Pink Hollyhocks in front of old outhouse

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Hollyhocks are easy to grow and have many varieties to choose from.

With their graceful appearance and vibrant hues, hollyhocks capture the essence of cottage gardening so let’s discover our choices for growing them in our own gardens!

Interesting hollyhock trivia: During the Victorian era, the hollyhock symbolized both “ambition” and “fecundity” in the famous Language of Flowers.

Hollyhocks Unveiled: A Glimpse into Their Varieties

Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) belong to the Malvaceae family and are known for their towering spikes of bell-shaped flowers.

These statuesque plants come in a range of colors, from delicate pastels to bold, eye-catching shades.

Medium pink hollyhock with bee, How to Grow Hollyhocks, Flower Patch Farmhouse

Here are some popular hollyhock varieties that have been adorning gardens for generations:

Majorette Series

These compact hollyhocks are perfect for smaller gardens or containers.

With their shorter stature, they bring all the hollyhock charm without overwhelming your space.

Growing to 2 feet tall they are perfect for the middle or front of a border, never overwhelming their neighbors.

Large double or semi-double blooms will appear the first year when started early even though these are considered a biennial.

(Biennial: any herbaceous flowering plant that completes its life cycle in two growing seasons.)

Peaches and Dreams Hollyhock flower in garden

Double Hollyhock

Double hollyhocks are a must-have if you’re a fan of ruffled, fully double flowers.

The petals resemble layers of delicate tissue paper, creating a stunning visual impact.

To me, they look like a mound of colorful whipping cream on a stem.

A popular double hollyhock mix is called Chater’s Mix and it comes in several beautiful colors. Find the seeds here.

There are many double varieties that you can buy individual colors of, like Peaches and Dreams and Double Apricot, which are two of my favorites.

Another great double mix is called Summer Carnival Mix.

White double hollyhocks, how to grow hollyhocks, Flower Patch Farmhouse

Black Hollyhock

You can find Black Hollyhock seeds under many names.

They bloom in deep, velvety maroon-black blossoms. These dramatic flowers add a touch of elegance to any garden.

One of my favorites is Black Watchman, you can find the seeds here at Renee’s Garden Seeds.

Another beautiful black hollyhock is Jet Black over at Bakers Seeds.

Black Knight is a true perennial Hollyhock that flowers the first year and is well worth a spot in your cottage garden.

black hollyhock

Queeny Series

Queeny series hollyhocks are unique. Not only are they shorter growing, 20 to 30 inches tall, but they have frilly outer petals with a powder puff center.

The ‘Queeny’ series comes in shades of lilac rose, red, white, rose, yellow, purple, and salmon.

These hollyhocks are a favorite among pollinators, attracting bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

Compact enough to grow in a pot or container, this dwarf hollyhock doesn’t give up a thing when it comes to blooming power. 

Halo Series:

The ‘Halo’ hollyhocks are known for their distinctive contrasting “halo” eye in the center of each flower.

This unique feature adds an extra layer of intrigue to the blooms.

Halo series hollyhocks are bushy, 5-8 ft. tall perennials which produce multiple long stems of large, 4-5 in. flowers with brightly colored ‘halo’ centers.

Includes shades of apricot, apple blossom, blush, cerise, cream, pink, red, and white.

This Hollyhock is resistant to rust which can make many hollyhocks look ragged and unattractive.

This hollyhock plant flowers the first year from July to September when sown early. Winter hardy to zone 3.

For more about sowing cold hardy flowers early see this article!

All the best garden tips

Seeds to Sow in Fall

Sow your seeds in Fall to get a jump start on many perennial and biennial plants. Get a gorgeous garden next Spring for less money.

Antwerp Fig Leaf Hollyhock Aka Happy Lights

If you want a super rust-resistant hollyhock then the Antwerp Fig Leaf is the ticket.

The original species A. ficifolia or Antwerp Hollyhock had yellow flowers and rust-resistant large-lobed leaves.

There are hybrids now offered in many colors. If you struggle with hollyhock rust then give this one a try.

Seed source: Swallowtail Garden Seeds and Select Seeds.

Growing Tips for Hollyhock Success

Now that we’ve dipped our toes into the world of hollyhock varieties, let’s uncover the tips and tricks to growing these captivating blooms in your own garden:

  1. Location Matters: Hollyhocks thrive in full sun, so choose a spot in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.
  2. Prepare the Soil: Ensure well-draining soil enriched with organic matter to give your hollyhocks a healthy start.
  3. Sow or Plant: You can grow hollyhocks from seeds or young plants. Sow seeds in late spring or early summer, or plant young hollyhocks in the same period.
  4. Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during the growing season. However, avoid waterlogging, as hollyhocks don’t tolerate standing water well.
  5. Staking: Since hollyhocks can get very tall, consider staking them to prevent them from toppling over in strong winds.
  6. Pest and Disease Control: Keep an eye out for common pests like aphids and Japanese beetles. Regular inspection and early intervention can help keep these nuisances at bay. Rust is a constant battle with Hollyhocks. See How to Grow Hollyhocks for more on that.

How to Grow Hollyhocks

Grow Hollyhocks in your Cottage Garden one easy step at a time. A simple-to-grow biennial or perennial that is perfect for beginner gardeners!

FAQs about Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks are typically biennial, meaning they complete their lifecycle over two years. They produce leaves and stems in the first year and flowers in the second year. However, some are true short-lived perennials.

Yes, you can! Opt for dwarf or compact varieties, as listed in the article, and choose a large container to accommodate their growth.

Allow the hollyhock flowers to mature and form seed pods. Once the pods turn brown and dry, gently collect the seeds and store them in a cool, dry place for future planting. See this article for more info.

Since most hollyhocks grow so tall the best place to plant them is at the back of a border, against a wall, or on a fence line.

Hollyhocks are non-toxic for pets.

Plant hollyhock seeds in late spring or early summer, after the last frost has passed. This gives them ample time to establish before their flowering year. You can also try Winter sowing or Fall sowing as listed in the above article.

Get more tips and tricks in the video for growing Hollyhocks in your garden!

beautiful pink hollyhocks in front of an old outhouse

A Touch of Elegance for Your Garden

Hollyhocks, with their tall spires of blossoms and old-fashioned cottage charm, bring a touch of elegance and nostalgia to any garden space.

From the luscious double hollyhock to the dramatic black hollyhocks, these flowers offer an array of colors and forms that can transform your outdoor haven into a fairytale landscape.

So, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting your garden adventure, consider adding hollyhocks to your list of must-have plants.

Hi, I’m Pamela

I am a 40-year master gardening enthusiast who loves to share the simple tips, tricks, and inspiration I have learned from personal experience.
My goal is to cultivate the love of gardening and help make your gardening life more enjoyable!
a Garden Friend!

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