I wrote about Hollyhock or Alcea rosea or Althaea rosea almost 9 years ago. Today as I was walking in the Bankside area of London I came across it on the sidewalk. It was such a wonderful display I decided to write about this flower again.
I had never seen Alcea rosea planted in the street. They are deciduous biennials, or sometimes perennials. Alcea rosea can grow pretty tall almost 2m or 7ft. It is native to Asia and Europe.
Alcea rosea usually flowers end of spring and in the summer. It adds such beautiful presence to borders because of their heights and colors. They are available in red, white, pink, purple, and even yellow.
They have interesting round leaves as well. Alcea rosea loves full sun and well-drained soil. It usually adapts to different soil types. It is sturdy but since it is so tall sometimes you need to use stakes to support it.
You can propagate Alcea rosea from seeds. Plant it during winter so it is ready to be planted in the final location in spring. However, protect them from slugs. You can cut back Alcea rosea after flowering. Or let it form seeds if you plan to collect the seeds.
Also, an interesting trivia about Hollyhock:
In Japan, during the Edo period 1600-1868 Tokugawa Shogunate or Shoguns adopted the Hollyhock leaves in their emblem.
If you don’t cut down Alcea rosea it will probably self-seed. And you will easily continue to enjoy theie beauty for years in your garden. Seeds usually ripen the end of summer, from August to October. Alcea rosea attracts birds and bees. But it is rabbit resistant.
Hollyhock has both medicinal uses and is also used in foods. You might find the leaves or flowers in salads. The flower petals are sometimes used as a tea. But you should usually consult more documentation or a doctor before consuming any plant even if it is identified as edible. Alcea rosea is also used in papermaking and dyes.
Also read Althaea rosea, Alcea rosea or Hollyhock