Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Old-fashioned HOLLYHOCKS are erect spikes whose foliage is evergreen.  Their green, slightly fuzzy and crinkled lobed leaves form a mound of foliage near the base of the plant, and, this time of year and even earlier, are nice and green.  They are short-lived perennials.  In your garden beds, they are most often grown as biennials, in which case the plants produce foliage the first year and flower the second.  (The plant pictured will bloom this year--it is it's 2nd year).  After that, pull up the plant and replace with another seedling, keeping in mind that you'll always need to start plants every year to ensure blooms every summer.   (If you decide to grow them as perennials, allow them to flower a few more years. Know, however, that they will be more susceptible to pests and problems like rust).  They are taller than they are wide, and look best with closer plantings if planted in groups.  Plant in full sun or partial shade, but in a protected spot from wind.  They do well in average, well drained soil--in fact, too rich of soil may require the need for staking.  They tolerate dry conditions--too wet of soil is fatal.  I like to prune mine early in the season so they won't get so tall--as they can reach 8 or even 10 feet tall. To do this, just cut back 1/2 when they are about 18" tall, once or twice in early spring before they flower. They come in single, semi-double or double, flowering varieties.  (I love the double--they look like small peonies).  They come in a range or colors--white yellow, pink, peach, red, and maroon.  To encourage reseeding, just crumble  few mature seed pods on the surface of your soil.  Don't cover--they need light to germinate.  They are easy to move around when they are young, but established plants are hard to move.  Bear in mind self-sown plants will be variable--if you want a certain color, buy seeds and plant.  I love their bright green leaves this time of year!  This easy-to-grow plant is a good addition to your summer garden.
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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