Growing Hollyhocks: Tips at a Glance
- Type Herbaceous flower
- Lifespan Perennial
- USDA Zones 3-8
- Light Sun
- Water Dry soil
- Where to Plant Against a wall
- Design Tip Plant in clumps
- Companions Phlox, coneflower
- Peak Season Summer
Hollyhocks: A Field Guide
Hollyhocks should be the first flower on your list if you are planting a cottage garden. With statuesque spires of colorful blooms that open first at the bottom and work their way up, a clump of Alcea rosea looks like fireworks against a wall or fence.
Hollyhocks’ greatest strength—their friendly informality—also can become their greatest weakness as summer unfolds and they flop over, exhausted by the effort of holding up their heavy flowers. To forestall this sad sight, stake them or tie them against a fence or trellis as they grow.
Often grown as annuals, most hollyhocks actually are perennial or biennial flowers and will self-sow in the garden, popping up in delightfully unexpected spots next year. (They look wonderful in clumps of intermingled colors.) Or you can harvest their seed from their dried pods and plant them with deliberation where they’ll look best.