Alcea (Hollyhock) al-SEE-ah
Hollyhocks are the epitome of cottage garden plants. These stately towers of flowers bloom for a long time in summer in a wide variety of colors. Chances are you’ve seen them alongside a barn, in front of a cute cottage-style house, or gracing the front of a white picket fence. This old-fashioned pass-along plant has absolutely caught the hearts of many. The flowering stalks of hollyhock, Alcea rosea, are covered in buds from the top down to the rosette foliage at the base. Once fully grown and ready to burst into color, these blooms start at the bottom and slowly work their way up, unfurling a little at a time. As the flowers continue to open, there will typically be several blooms per stalk, all opening at once to create beautiful columns of rainbow worthy color. Hollyhock requires a rich, well-drained soil with a medium amount of moisture and full sun for best results. However, if you live where the summer sun is scorching hot, then your hollyhock plants would benefit from some afternoon shade.