Common Name: hollyhock
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 2 to 9
Height: 5.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Dark maroon, almost black
Sun: Full sun
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Black Walnut
Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and some light shade, but will not tolerate wet winter soils. Considered a biennial or short-lived perennial. If grown from seed, plant seeds in August or September for bloom the following year. Although short-lived, hollyhocks easily self-seed and can establish colonies in the garden that persist for years as if they were perennials.
Hollyhocks are old garden favorites. 'Nigra' is a classic hollyhock whose deep maroon blooms look almost black. The flowers grow on rigid, towering spikes or spires which typically reach a height of 5-8' tall. Foliage features large, heart-shaped (3, 5 or 7 lobes), rough lower leaves which become progressively smaller toward the top of the spire. Long bloom period of June to August. Sometimes listed in nursery catalogs under Althaea.
Foliage is susceptible to rust, leaf spot and anthracnose. Spider mites and Japanese beetle can also be problems. Foliage can become rather tattered and unkempt in appearance when attacked by the aforementioned insects and/or diseases, but the flowers generally are not affected. May need staking, particularly if not protected from wind.
Hollyhocks provide excellent architectural height, contrast and a certain amount of old world charm to cottage gardens and border backgrounds. Also effective when grown against walls or fences.