A Quick Guide to Planting Hollyhocks
If you are trying to create a classical cottage garden, then you must browse this quick guide to planting hollyhocks. Hollyhocks are a quintessential garden staple, and they are perfect for cottage gardens because of their height. At up to 6-feet tall, planting hollyhocks along a picket fence or at the back edge of a flower garden puts their unusual height to perfect use.
Hollyhocks are popular flowering plants that can be grown in a wide variety of locations, from zone 4 all the way up zone 10. The hollyhock is a biennial plant in the higher zones (8 through 10), but it can be a perennial in the lower zones. As said above, hollyhocks are a tall and slim plant, easily reaching to heights of 5-feet or more. The leaves are dark green in color and relatively sparse along the length of the plant’s stems.
Hollyhock flowers come in a wide variety of colors. The most popular type of hollyhock is generally thought to be the black hollyhock, which produces a deep dark flower that appears black in color, hence the name. The flowers have a delicate appearance with lacy edges that make them perfect for that cottage garden feel.
No matter which zone you live in, your hollyhocks will prefer to be planted in an area that has full exposure to the sun. A bit of shade is not a problem, but hollyhocks like the sun and will not do great without a few hours of full sunshine every day. The hollyhock plant is not fussy about soil requirements, but they do best in a garden that has good to excellent drainage. Hollyhocks should not be crowded in the garden either. Be sure to make room for good air circulation between the plants, whether along a fence or wall.
Caring for Hollyhocks
The hollyhock plant is fairly easy to take care of. They do not require much special treatment, and most of the time they will reseed themselves from year to year. It takes about one year from planting for the hollyhock to actually flower, so for the first year you may only have leaves. Once they do flower, though, their beauty is worth the wait.
It is fine to feed your hollyhocks once or twice during the growing season, but it is not necessary, especially when using compost in the soil surrounding the plants. When tending to the soil, be sure it has a neutral pH and a sufficient supply of humus.
Problems with Hollyhocks
One of the biggest problems with growing hollyhocks is that they easily succumb to rust, which is a fungus that can have a field day with your hollyhock plants. Locating these plants in areas of full sun and making sure they get enough air circulation can usually help to prevent rust from attacking the hollyhocks. If a problem with rust infestation does creep up, it may only hit the lower leaves, so it can be hidden beneath some of the shorter plants in the flower bed.
Whitefly is about the only insect known to go after hollyhock plants. They can be avoided with most pest treatments found in your local garden center. If any problems with the hollyhock plant is severe, they can be cut back or deadheaded. This will help eliminate pests and also encourage hearty reseeding for the following year.