Family: Malvaceae Althaea rosea
An old favourite that has long been a feature
of the cottage gardens of Britain, having been
originally introduced from China, where it is
Although perennial, it is generally treated as
There are both single- and double-flowered forms,
many flowers, four to five inches in diameter,
being borne on substantial stems that will attain
a height of six or seven feet.
The colours range from white and yellow to shades
of pink to scarlet, crimson and purple.
Planted in groups at the back of the border, the
Hollyhock lends itself to bold effect, especially
if planted against a background of dark green.
The foliage is large and rounded and is produced
beneath the flower-spike; it is sometimes subject
to rust, which is best controlled by dusting with
green sulphur immediately the first symptoms appear.
For successful cultivation a deep loamy soil,
trenched three spits deep, is necessary and good
drainage is essential.
Best treated as a biennial by sowing seed in June
to produce plants that will flower in the following
The flowering season is on August and September.
Five to seven feet.
Colours various, July to September.
The Hollyhock is the tallest and stateliest of
all the Mallows; it has associations with those
vague but pleasing qualities called “old-fashioned”
and “old-world”; it is one of the
chief properties of English farmhouse and cottage
gardens; it satisfies the soul of the artist and
the artisan alike.
It is hardy and not particular
as to soil; its habit is bold and handsome, and
the range of colour in its flowers is great.
for one fatal blot on its character it would be
one of the most desirable of all border plants;
the dread Mallow fungus (puccinia malvacearum)
makes its culture at all times difficult and sometimes
The first signs if the plague is a small yellow
or rusty spot which forms on the under side of
the lower leaves and penetrates tot eh upper surface.
This rapidly extends; the leaves, speckled all
over with black and orange mould, shrivel and
fall, and if the plant has strength left to develop
the flower spike, it does so in a miserable condition,
ragged and foul, or even leafless.
It is for each
grower to determine for themselves whether the
degree to which the disease affects the plant
in his garden is sufficient to make them abandon
the attempt to grow it; or whether the results
obtained justify the continuance of the struggle.
There are no remedies of any real value, when
once the attack is developed; syringing with diluted
Condy’s Fluid (permanganate of potassium)
has been recommended, but has little effect.
are of stouter stamina than plants raised from
cuttings, and should always be chosen; but this
is no safeguard, as the plants are often covered
with the fungus as soon as they have formed six
leaves in the seed bed.
There is no doubt that
the soil and the air of a garden may become impregnated
with the spores of the fungus; but it is a matter
deserving more attention from garden authorities
than it seems to have received, bow far the germs
of this and other fungoid growths may be contained
dormant in seed from infected stocks.
chance for the hollyhock grower lies in clean
soil, one that has grown no Hollyhocks before,
and if possible any Mallows of any kind; as they
are all liable to forms of the complaint.
infected plants should, of course, be burned.
Hollyhock plants may be bought and planted in
March, or seed may be sown in the open, about
three quarters of an inch deep in drills, in June
The seedlings must be pricked out when
a couple of inches high; handle the forky and
rather brittle roots with care.
double kinds are the showiest; but the single
strains have been much improved of late years,
and now flower in a handsome spike, instead of
by desultory blooms as they once did.
comprise very deep maroon (almost black), claret,
crimson, various shades of pink and rose, orange-buff,
buff-yellow, primrose, white, besides several
shaded or mixed hues difficult to name.
is one very beautiful form of flower, in which
a broad border of single petals makes a “guard”
or setting for the double centre.
The single flowered
kinds show all the colours of the doubles, and
are decidedly easier to raise and grow.
The ground must be made as good as possible for
Hollyhocks, dug two spits deep, with plenty of
strong manure under the lower one and lighter
stuff mixed with the upper.
Clumps of two or three
plants, set two feet apart, may be put at the
back of mixed borders; or rows of plants may line
the edge of a path.
A strong stake, six feet out
of the ground, must be firmly fixed alongside
of each plant before it is more than half-grown,
and the stems securely tied to it with tar-string
as they advance.
In dry summer weather abundance
of water should be given to the plants, and the
ground for a couple of feet round the stems covered
with two inches of old manure and leaf-mould as
When the flower spikes are past, the
stems may be cut down to within a few inches of
In the following spring the crowns
should be examined, and any plant making a good
show of green leaves at the base may be left to
flower the second summer.
In many cases the roots
will be found in a feeble condition if not entirely
decayed; and to keep up a show of Hollyhocks they
must be grown strictly as biennials and a fresh
batch raised every year.