Hollyhock (Alcea), with its impressive height, vibrant blooms, and pollinator-friendly nature, is a timeless addition to any garden, blending both aesthetic appeal and ecological benefits.
Habit: Hollyhock is a classic garden plant prized for its tall, erect stems that can reach heights between 6 to 8 feet or even taller in optimal conditions. Its distinctive columnar growth makes it a striking backdrop in any garden setting, and its biennial nature means it typically flowers in its second year.
Hardiness: Hollyhocks are resilient plants that thrive in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9. They prefer full sun but can tolerate light shade. While they are adaptable to a range of soil types, they especially flourish in well-draining, moderately fertile soils. Once established, they’re relatively drought-resistant, making them suitable for various climates.
Flowers and Bloom Time: The show-stopping feature of hollyhocks is undoubtedly their large, colorful blossoms. Arranged in a series along their tall spikes, these flowers can be single or double and come in many colors – white, pink, red, yellow, and even near-black. The bloom time for hollyhocks is usually in the summer, between July to September, offering gardeners a vibrant display during these warmer months.
Uses: Given their height and structure, hollyhocks are perfect as background plants in borders and flower beds. They’re also commonly found gracing the walls of cottages, making them a favorite for cottage garden styles. Moreover, their towering presence makes them a good choice for creating natural screens or garden partitions.
Benefits: Beyond their ornamental appeal, hollyhocks are beloved by pollinators. Bees, in particular, are attracted to these plants, making them an excellent choice for gardeners looking to support local pollinator populations. Additionally, their seeds can be easily collected and sown, making them a sustainable choice for those looking to propagate plants without purchasing new seeds or plants every season.