When I say Hollyhock most people envision cottage gardens or a plants as tall as or taller than they are along the south side of the barn, the shed or the house at Grandma and Grandpas. If these are the images of Hollyhock that come to your mind, then allow me to give you a “peek” at ‘Fiesta Time’. It has been around for a few years but I think the name Hollyhock scares a few people away. ‘Fiesta Time’ produces stalks of double, frilly petaled flowers in a vivid cherry red with dusty pink petal edges in midsummer. Sounds like a fiesta huh? Well “lettuce” give you some salsa for those chips! This lovely only grows to about 3, maybe 4 feet tall! The more compact habit of this Hollyhock really gives it strong vertical versatility. You could put this plant in places you would never expect to find hollyhock, or plant it in places you always find hollyhocks and enjoy the fact that it doesn’t go all “Jack and the Bean Stalk” on you. Hollyhocks generally prefer average to fertile soil that is well drained but watered regularly. These are fast growers so be sure to feed them if you’re looking for “best of show”. While they love, love full sun I’ve seen them grow in light shade but don’t recommend it. They are more susceptible to disease in shade and their bloom isn’t as strong. Here’s some additional dirt on Hollyhocks… They are tolerant of Black Walnut juglone; if you deal with juglone you’ll appreciate that. If you have Black Walnut trees and don’t know that it’s not you killing your tomatoes then contact us. We can email you a copy of the details. Hollyhocks are considered a biennial or a short-lived perennial, so it’s important to let them go to seed, helping to ensure future “Fiestas”. These plants attract butterflies and hummingbirds and are a favored food source for Japanese Beetles so watch for those.
(Photo courtesy Walters Gardens, Inc.)