Winds that bluster, winds that shout…
The last dear hollyhock has flamed his crimson glory out.
– On All Soul’s Eve, Faye Inchfawn
Common Name: Hollyhock
Latin name: Alcea sp.
Family: Malvaceae: Mallow Family
Habit: Full sun. Considered a biennial and perennial. Self-sows, freely. Can grow upward of 8 feet tall! Mostly found in shades of pink, red and white. But occasional oranges, peaches and some double blossom varieties may also be available. Can be very deeply taprooted, which can lead to difficulty in transplanting.
Notes: Having trouble getting hollyhocks started in your yard? Wondering why you’ve seen the plants growing in alleys and sidewalk cracks? Here’s the secret: Hollyhock seeds need light to germinate. So, when the wind blows them into an alley or that crack in the sidewalk, they get lodged in an open, bright spot and poof, away they grow. To grow hollyhocks in a desired location: take an entire stalk and lay it down where you would like them to grow. This method allows the seeds to drop into the soil, leaving the stalks and leaves to protect the seeds an keep them from wandering away with the wind.
Fun Fact: Hollyhocks are in the same family as cotton, Malvacea, and have been considered a potential source of fiber for cloth. Garden Flower Folklore by Laura C. Martin.
Hollyhock facts from Garden Flower Folklore by Laura C. Martin.