When I think of easy, classic country flowers, hollyhocks are right up there with my favourites. On tall, sturdy legs, a riot of colourful blooms smile. Drive along a rural road and you’ll see them tight up against barns like icing on a cake.
We started our hollyhock patch about three years ago from a $1.99 seed pack and we haven’t really done much to nurture these hard-working garden staples. Our soil isn’t particularly rich. We don’t water. Other than staking them if they get wobbly, that’s it.
I highly recommend trying these beauties. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- The leaves take up a lot of space, so dedicate an entire area to your hollyhocks. I’m an inpatient gardener so in the spring when my hollyhocks were just little sprouts, I underplanted them with some lavender to add some texture to the garden – well, so long lavender, they were soon devoured by the hollyhocks’ vibrant leafy growth.
- Plant in sunny spot so they get about 6 hours of sun a day.
- Because of their height, it helps to plant them along a building or fence to give them protection and provide support.
- I’ve read that hollyhocks are annuals, biennials or short-lived perennials. We’ve had really good luck with ours self-seeding. So just keep in mind, that every year or so, you may want to add another pack of seed to your hollyhock bed to keep the bounty coming.
Photos: Ben Loughton