Hollyhock is another cottage garden staple that actually blooms in mid-summer with numerous flowers on tall spikes. Some of the varieties of this plant are biennials, which simple means they can complete their lifecycle over two years. Actually the 1st year is spent growing foliage and storing energy, then in the 2nd year the stalks will shoot up, the flowers bloom and the seeds form. Although there are some varieties that actually behave like short-lived perennials and will only flower in their 1st year when planted early enough in spring or started indoors in winter.

One good thing about this plant is that it does not require much maintenance apart from staking and cutting the stalks back after flowering. Although the plant needs to be protected from insects and fungal diseases such as rust. This plant really support the lifecycle of painted lady butterflies as a host plant for their caterpillars and also the plant attract other pollinators like hummingbirds and bees.

Basic information about Hollyhock

The height and spread: This plant is about six to eight feet tall, and also about 1-2 feet wide.
The plant exposure: The plant does well in full sun to part shade.
The blooming time: The blooming time is June to August.
The color and characteristics: This plant flowers comes in a wide variety of colors; purple, yellow blue, pink, white, red and even black. And also the tall spikes are covered with blooms from the top to the bottom. The leaves of this plant are large, coarse and palmate in shape.

The planting instructions

When to plant the seeds: This plant are easily started from seed either indoors or outdoors. You can sow the seeds directly outdoors about a week before last frost. You can sow the seed ¼ inch deep and about two feet apart. This plant actually has long taproots, which means if the seeds are started indoors you can use tall, individual pots and then transplant them early to actually avoid damage. You can start the seed nine weeks before the last average frost date. Also the seedlings can be placed outside 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost. You have to bear in mind that they are biennials and they may not bloom until their 2nd year.

Where to plant the Hollyhocks seeds:  Just make sure you plant the seed in a well-draining area with full sun to partial shade. Because of their height you can protect them from damaging winds by providing support like a fence, wall, stake or trellis.

Pruning of plant: The flowers of the plant can be removed when they fade and also the stalks can be cut back after flowering. Actually this will really prevent the seed heads from forming and reseeding.

Soil requirement:  Try and make sure you provide a rich, moist, well-drained soil for the hollyhock plant.

Fertilizer application:  This plant can really benefit from a light application of fertilizer or compost in the spring.

The watering of plant: Make sure you provide regular water and also keep the soil moist. Once the hollyhock plant is well established, the plant is fairly drought tolerant. Make sure you water the plant from below and also avoid wetting the foliage.

The propagation: These plants are best and easy grown from seed and also they will readily self-seed if the flower stalks are left in place.

Pest and disease control: These plants are actually prone to hollyhock rust. This is a fungal infection that will first show as yellow spots on the plant leaves, later it will develop into brown or rust colored bumps on the underside of the plant leaves. To stop the rust from forming you can start by watering the plant from below and also provide good air circulation, and also thorough late fall cleanup will really go a long way.

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