No doubt, my favorite cottage garden plants are hollyocks — primarily single hollyhocks, that look like ballerina’s skirts dancing high in the wind.
My grandmother planted thickets of hollyhock at the back of her garden, My garden will never be complete until I can completely surround my backyard with the same.
Burpee sells both hollyhock plants and seed. At burpee.com, this group of plants is called Country Romance.
Hollyhock, Country Romance Mix
A hard-to-find old-fashioned perennial.
Sun: Full Sun
Height: 5-7 feet
Spread: 18-24 feet
Uses: Beds, Cut Flowers
Bloom Season: Fall, Summer
Planting Hollyhock Flowers
“Hollyhock truly is an old garden favorite, with a long blooming season. Usually considered a short-lived perennial in Zones 3-8, but may live for several years if stalks are cut off at their bases after the flowers fade. Makes an excellent screening plant to hide unsightly places. A good background companion for shorter plants. Hollyhock is very easy to grow, preferring a warm, sunny location sheltered from the wind. Will tolerate moist conditions. Bloom midsummer-early fall.
Four inch double flowers borne on wand-like stems. Blooms start near the base of the stem and move upward so that 1-1/2 to 2 feet of each stem is covered with bloom throughout the season.
Hairy leaves, 6-8″ across, borne in low clumps. Hollyhock plants grow up to 6 feet in height.
Hollyhock will do well in almost any soil but prefers a well-drained soil with pH 6.0 – 8.0, from slightly acid to alkaline. If you are in doubt of your soil acidity, make a soil test with one of Burpee’s Soil Test Kits listed in the catalog, or contact your local County Agricultural Agent about soil sampling procedures. A soil test will indicate what fertilizers or elements are needed in your soil.
Planting hollyhock may be done in spring or fall. Select a sunny location sheltered from the wind. Try to have the soil worked up at least one week before planting time.
Spring plantings will be safer in areas where winters are severe. Plant as soon as nursery stock is received. If plantings must be delayed, place the hollyhock in a cool, shaded area and keep the roots moist. Hollyhock seedlings are grown in a special planting mixture to promote fast growth. Do not pull this material away from the roots, but set the top of the planting material level with the soil line. Firm the soil around the plants and roots by pressing the soil with your hands. Water well to eliminate air pockets that may form around the roots.
Eighteen inches apart. If planted in rows, space rows at least 3 feet apart. Depending on how hollyhock grow in your area, some plants may require staking to support fragile stems in windy areas.
Will tolerate moist conditions if soil is welldrained. Water thoroughly during hot, dry weather. Keep water off leaves when watering, to prevent disease problems.
HOLLYHOCK PRUNING REQUIREMENTS:
Remove any seed-heads that may form, so hollyhock will continue to bloom for several years. Most plants will live and bloom for several years in Zones 3-8 if stalks are cut off at the base after flowers have faded. They will not be as vigorous as new seedlings. Once established in the garden, hollyhock often grow voluntary from seeds dropped during the summer. These chance seedlings may and should be transplanted elsewhere in the garden.”
Burpee Hollyhock Seed can be purchased anywhere that garden seed is sold. This variety of old-fashioned singles is called Country Romance.
The information on the back of the packet says the following:
“Sow outdoors in a cold frame or protected seedbed in early summer [Zone 7 April 1]. Sow seeds thinly and cover with 1/4th inch of fine soil. Keep evenly moist. Seedlings emerge in 12-21 days. Transplant seedlings about 12″ apart when 3-4″ high.”