Hollyhocks (Alcea) are a great choice for a cottage garden, adding romance and charm. Because of their height they also make a great back-of-the-border plant, creating a striking vertical accent that serves as a backdrop for shorter plants in front. Their tall spires with covered with large, frilled magenta flowers for weeks in midsummer. Blooms begin at the bottom and slowly work their way up, unfurling a little at a time for a display that lasts for weeks. Once initial flowering is done you can cut back the flowering stalk to encourage a second flush of flowers.
Hollyhocks are not only beautiful, they support the lifecycle of painted lady butterflies as a host plant for their caterpillars and also attract other pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds.
These plants are seedlings grown from the mother plants shown here and are likely to come true from seed, although some lovely variations may occur. While some hollyhocks are biennials, these appear to be true perennials and have returned for 3 years now.
Full sun, almost any soil. Grows 6-7' tall; requires some staking.