Fluffy romantic doubles in pastel, brilliant stacks of single rosettes, or the illusive black bloom – hollyhocks are a classic, cottage garden flower. Their regal spires of old fashioned bloom can reach 8’-9’ high in a delicious choice of shades like pink, purple, magenta, yellow, peach, cream and yes, even black. They are infamous for decorating abandoned gardens, which makes one think they are easy to grow, and if the conditions are right, they will self seed and succeed for years. But for those that love hollyhocks and don’t have the right conditions, they can be a frustration. Sometimes you love a flower like crazy, but it doesn’t love your conditions, so you can try to revise nature (never ending work I don't endorse!), or just enjoy it in other gardens. Hollyhocks want sunshine, average soil on the dry side, wind protection, and a warm wall or fence to lean on.
Technical stuff – hardy biennial that self seeds, height of 24” to 100+” (dwarf varieties are available) and spread of about 12” to 24”, prefer full sun, dry soil with average to rich fertility, blooms in summer, need protection from the wind and/or support, susceptible to rust, leaf spot, and aphids.