Cheery Hollyhocks Brighten Up the Garden
In summer, we can't get enough of hollyhocks. These plants are long-blooming summer flowers that appear in spikes of bright blossoms. Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) are cottage garden favorites because of their appearance and extended bloom time. The warm-weather bloomers are low-maintenance plantings and make great additions to cut flower gardens. They're also known to attract birds to the garden.
These perennials and biennials thrive in the sun and in the right conditions will grow to heights of 3 to 8 feet and widths of 1 to 3 feet. Their dramatic heights make an impact in mass plantings and can create magical effects in the garden. They're also capable of acting as privacy plantings. Hollyhocks are beautiful when planted in en masse in one color or in a variety of colors. They're vibrant and welcoming and can add a cheery note to backyard gardens and front-yard designs. (Hello, curb appeal!)
The foliage of hollyhocks is bright green, sometimes in shades of blue-green, and the flowers appear in a rainbow of colors including red, white, pink, purple, yellow, and blue. Foliage surrounds the base of the plant and appears on stems higher up the center stalk. When it's time to bloom, the flowering stalks are covered in buds and the blooms begin to unfurl, opening from the bottom and emerging gradually up the stalk.
In regard to care, usually you'll have to wait a year after first planting to enjoy hollyhock blooms. Be patient: Once the hollyhocks have spent a year growing, they'll put on a vibrant show. In addition to full sun and regular water, they also appreciate having a support system nearby. The tallest varieties like to be planted against a wall or a fence to keep them growing upright. Some popular selections to plant include 'Chater's Double', which has peachy pink, yellow, and white blooms, 'Peaches 'n Dreams', which has double apricot-hued blooms, and 'Creme de Cassis', which has vibrant magenta flowers.
Did you have hollyhocks in your family garden growing up? Do you want to plant some of these summer blooms in your garden this year?