Alcea rosea

Common Name: hollyhock 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Garden origin
Zone: 2 to 10
Height: 5.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: White, pink & red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Annual, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Alcea rosea, commonly called hollyhocks, are old garden favorites. The flowers grow on rigid, towering spikes or spires which typically reach a height of 5-8' tall and usually do not require staking. 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.

Genus name is the Latin name from the Greek word alkaia for a kind of mallow.

Specific epithet means pink.


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.