Hollyhocks (Althaea rosea)
Alcea rosea (common hollyhock; syn. Althaea chinensis Wall., Althaea ficifolia Cav., Althaea rosea Cav.) Is an ornamental plant in the Malvaceae family.
It was imported into Europe from southwestern China During, or possibly before, the 15th century. William Turner, a herbalist of the time, gave it the name "holyoke" from Which the Inglese name derivates.
Alcea rosea is variously described as a biennial (having a two-year life cycle), as an annual, or as a short-lived perennial. It frequently self-sows, Which may create a perception That the plants are perennial. The plant may flower During ITS first year a when sown early. It will grow in a wide range of soils, and can easily reach a height of about 8 feet (2.4 m).
The flowers are a range of colors from white to dark red, including pink, yellow and orange. Different colors prefer different soils. [Citation needed] The darker red variety Seems to favor sandy soils, while the lighter color Seems to favor clay soils. [Citation needed] The plants are easily grown from seed, and readily self-seed. However, tender plants, Whether young from seed or from old stock, may be wiped out by slugs and snails. The foliage is subject to attack from rust (Puccinia malvacearum), Which may be treated with fungicides. Commercial growers have reported That some closely related species (Alcea rugosa and Alcea ficifolia) are resistant to this fungus.
In herbal medicine, Hollyhock is believed to be an emollient and laxative. It is used to control inflammation, to stop bedwetting and as a mouthwash in cases of bleeding gums.
This hardy and reliable cottage garden plant makes a perfect backdrop for your mixed borders, and adds structure to the casual garden. Hollyhocks Especially look nice a when colors are mixed. They come in white, yellow, pink, red and crimson, with Both single and double strains available. Plants sizes Vary greatly - from 2½ to 7 feet in height, and the tall spikes are covered with flowers from midsummer to fall.
Although it is actually a perennial, it is sometimes grown as a biennial and discarded after flowering to avoid rust infestation, Although some of the newer varieties resist rust. Early flowering strains are sometimes treated as annuals.
Hollyhocks are easy to start from seed. Start them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost or sow Directly in the garden a when the soil is workable. September out larger, nursery-grown plants in the spring for summer bloom or smaller ones in the fall for bloom next year. Plants Should be spaced two feet apart. The ideal location will have average soil and lots of sun. Rich soil will promote 'tender growth That Is weak and will need staking. These weaker plants will be prone to disease. Most hollyhocks self-sow readily if you let a few flowers go to seed. Most varieties need to be staked in windy areas.
Spider mites can be hosed off and Japanese beetles can be handpicked or if they become a problem. Rust disease shows up as reddish spots on the leaves and stems and can quickly destroy or disfigure to planting. Removing infected and dead leaves can help.