Why not Hollyhocks?

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One of my fondest memories as a young boy was my Grandmothers green thumb. Most of her effort went into vegetables. She always taught us to grow plants to eat. Her only two exceptions were Lilacs and Hollyhocks. She was outstanding at growing both. The aroma of the Lilac in bloom was hypnotic. Now that I have moved from Florida to North Carolina I'm again in a climate where I can grow both of these plants. I know it takes two years to get flowers on the Hollyhocks but I am amazed at how little interest the is in this flower both locally and on the internet. Is there a downside to growing these flowers? I did a search on this site and only found two posts on Hollyhocks. Can anyone explain why they aren't more popular?
 

Colin

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Hi,

Excellent question Silentrunning. (y)

I've just been browsing the web for English cottage garden planting ideas and Hollyhocks make a good backbone of such gardens; many years ago when houses didn't have damp proof courses Hollyhocks would be planted against house walls to draw away moisture.

65 years ago my late grandfather won an award for growing Hollyhocks his reaching 8' tall; as a child I remember my grandfather as he lay dying in bed being very concerned about his broad beans; "are they through yet" he would ask daily? They say drinking will damage your health; my grandfather was running to catch the bus and tripped breaking an arm; he was on his way to the working men's club; in those days a broken arm was serious and he never recovered from his injury.

Hollyhocks are readily available here in the UK and a sample price from J Parker's for loose rooted 15 plants is £11.98 so they are not expensive and I'll be buying some plus other favourites.

Have a go with Hollyhocks Silentrunning and pass on the word. (y)

Kind regards, Colin.
 

alp

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I'm not keen on hollyhock even though they have lovely flowers of all sorts of colours. The are tall and usually have a few flowers right at the top and yet don't look beyond those few lovely blooms as the middle of the stems is often very unsightedly, no flowers, with seeds trying to form.

They self seed like crazy in the warm area where I live. Often in the wrong place, just like the nicotianas.. Once they have a foothold, it's difficult to get rid of them. They can flower happily in the middle of a crack line in my concrete ground.. Very annoying. They truly remind me of the eryngiums .. Mama mia .. I want to look away when I see new seedlings coming up everywhere .. in the brick pavings, on the lawn .. Mind you, eryngiums are most invasive where I live. Someone living in a cool place might have a different story to tell.

They are more like these

images


With more flowers at the top and bare and ugly middle..rather than these

upload_2017-11-9_17-56-56.jpeg



They very quickly become these

images


My observation only. Perhaps they behave better in cooler UK
 
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My plan (hope) is to plant them as the rear most plant in one flower garden with progressively shorter plants down to ornamental kale on the front border. On the other side of the yard I plan to use Russian Mammoth sun flowers as the backdrop. I really like the tiered look as opposed to flat flower gardens.
 

alp

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Get some tall darkish sexy purple delphiniums. Make sure they have compact flowers. They will come back every year and as the back row, they are really stunning. At least, if you live in a hot place, they won't self-seed like tramps.. LOL!

upload_2017-11-9_19-32-41.jpeg


Dark Knight

upload_2017-11-9_19-33-15.jpeg


There is one darker in colour than these but very tall. Or you have can these AND hollyhocks.. and see what you like, Hollyhock is very photogenic but after some flowering, they just turn straggly and bare in the middle. But you might as well experiment to your heart's content and see if they perform better for you with your weather.. I can assure they travel .. like a vagabond!
 
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My grandmother also grew Hollyhocks in the garden. At that time, we could see Hollyhocks everywhere, and now gardeners rarely plant it near the house.
I do not know how in other countries, but here at that time there was not such a large number of interesting plants. Then came new plants and hybrids from old ones. Of course, gardeners began to actively grow it. Then some old plants lost popularity.

I like the idea of using this in a mixed flowerbed.
 

alp

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My internet connection is so slow that it has now become World wide wait. Thanks to Plusnet! Have to do something else ..
 
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Get some tall darkish sexy purple delphiniums. Make sure they have compact flowers. They will come back every year and as the back row, they are really stunning. At least, if you live in a hot place, they won't self-seed like tramps.. LOL!

View attachment 29392

Dark Knight

View attachment 29393

There is one darker in colour than these but very tall. Or you have can these AND hollyhocks.. and see what you like, Hollyhock is very photogenic but after some flowering, they just turn straggly and bare in the middle. But you might as well experiment to your heart's content and see if they perform better for you with your weather.. I can assure they travel .. like a vagabond!

Alp, those pictures are stunning. The blue in the second picture is unbelievable. Thanks for the info. Now I can't wait for spring. :D
 
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Dark Purple or 'Black' Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) are particularly striking. There are several similar seed strain cultivars available, including 'Arabian Nights', Blackknight (or 'Black Knight'), 'Jet Black', 'Nigra', and 'The Watchman' (or 'Black Watchman').
These dark-flowered forms are sometimes called Alcea rosea var, nigra, but they are cultivated forms, not a separate botanical varietas. Indeed, Alcea rosea is not known as a wild plant and its exact origins are obscure. Different references suggest either China or Turkey as its place of origin.
0d7ab21e6ac54acb0f19cc71f2796524.jpg
 

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