ALTHAEA (Hollyhock)

The familiar Hollyhock is the giant of the flower garden, its tall spires of large, funnel-shaped flowers providing summer colour at the back of herbaceous borders or in cottage gardens. Nearly all colours apart from blue are available. It can be grown as a perennial but rust disease soon ruins older plants – it is better to treat it as a biennial or to grow one of the annual varieties.
VARIETIES: A. rosea is the Common Hollyhock and there are both single and double varieties from which to make your choice. ‘Chater’s Double’ is the one most usually grown. If you want to grow Althaea as an annual then choose an early-flowering variety such as ‘Majorette’ or ‘Summer Carnival’.
SITE & DETAILS: Any reasonable garden soil will do – thrives in a sunny, sheltered spot. Stake on exposed sites.
PLANT DETAILS: Height 6 – 9 ft (annual vars. 3 – 6 ft). Spacing 2 ft (annual vars. 15 in.). Flowering period July – September.
PROPAGATION: Take cutting in autumn or sow in June – follow the Biennial technique . Sow annual varieties under glass in February