Alcea rugosa
Common Name: hollyhock 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Caucasus, Crimea, European Russia, Ukraine
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 9.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates wide range of soil conditions except for wet soils in winter. Biennial or short-lived perennial. Deadheading flowers and removing flower spikes after bloom will encourage plants to act as perennials. In the alternative, spent flower spikes can be left in place to facilitate reseeding. Although short-lived, hollyhocks freely self-seed and can establish colonies in the garden that persist for years.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Alcea rugosa, commonly called hollyhocks, belong to the mallow family and are old garden favorites. From a basal rosette of large, heart-shaped (3,5 or 7 lobes), rough-textured, basal leaves arise thick-stemmed, unbranched spires to 6' tall. Stem-hugging, single, pale yellow, outward-facing flowers typically appear from late spring to mid summer, blooming bottom to top on the spires. Flowers have showy central staminal columns. Leaves get progressively smaller toward the tops of the spires. Sometimes listed in catalogs under Althaea.

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

Specific epithet means wrinkled.


Hollyhocks are generally susceptible to rust, leaf spot and anthracnose, however A. rugosa reportedly has good resistance to rust. Spider mites and Japanese beetles are occasional insect visitors. Foliage can become tattered and unkempt in summer when attacked by the aforementioned diseases and/or insects. Taller plants may need staking if sited in locations exposed to wind.


Provides architectural height and old world charm to cottage gardens and border rears. Also effective when grown adjacent to walls or fences. Yellow flowers mix well with many of the purple-flowered buddleias.