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Not Your Grandmothers Hollyhocks!

 Hollyhocks have come a long way baby!

How many of us have fond memories of eight foot tall hollyhocks growing against Grandma's fence... gardening is in great part an exercise in recreating the beautiful moments in our lives. They've seen a lot of history in the last 300 years -- those lilacs, and hollyhocks, foxgloves and Johnny jump-ups that have graced our gardens since before America lit its first birthday candle. No other plant has flourished with such persistent vigor, despite the handicaps of general neglect, poor soil, rust disease and drought that it has often had to suffer.  The hollyhocks survived when many more tender plants could not abide the rigors of late spring and early autumn frosts, burning noon-day sun, and persistent drought; and so they became the favorites; seed was shared; and soon, as one of my aged neighbors has said, "Everyone had hollyhocks." Year after year its strong spikes of gaily-colored blossoms have continued to gladden the dooryards, patios, acequia banks - even alleys and roadways.

The Old time varieties bore tall erect single blooms in a variety of colors. Modern  hybridizers have perfected gorgeous, hardy perennial  double bloom of red, yellow white, peach, pink, red, and bi-colored.

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Pink Double Hollyhocks are similar to roses and peony

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A light yellow and a very white hollyhock both double blooming

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The peach apricot double booming Charters hollyhocks

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A red double hollyhock and a dark maroon single blooming hollyhock

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Hollyhocks when grown in good conditions and soil will reach anywhere between 9 to 15 ft.

 

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Pastel blooming hollyhocks only grown to about five feet but they are a delight and the colors are so unique

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    The variation in hollyhocks takes on many forms, this species look familiar to a hibiscus
     
    When Planting Hollyhocks From Seed

    Hollyhocks are sometimes difficult to grow from seed. They can be started indoors in February if bottom heat is applied. They should be planted 1/2 inch deep and will take 14-21 days to germinate. Nigra can take longer. Because of the long germination time, the seeds often rot. They should be planted outdoors when the danger of frost is passed and spaced 8-10 inches apart. They usually do not bloom the first year. They will begin blooming in the second year during June and continue throughout the summer.

    The most common recommendation is to plant your Hollyhock seeds in the fall, this allows the root system to get established over the winter months. Hollyhocks planted in the fall have a chance of blooming following summer.
    If you are unable to get your seeds sown in the fall have no fear Hollyhock seeds can be planted spring too. In the spring plant your seeds as soon as you can work up the soil. When planted in the spring Hollyhocks will produce foliage, but will not bloom until the following summer.

 

 

 

 

 

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