Who knew Alcea Rosa would be such a wonderment in my Colorado garden. Last year I grew hollyhock plants from seed named, Alcea Rosea ‘Nigra’. The “death hollyhock,” as my husband calls it, is a wonderfully dark maroon that can appear almost black on an overcast day. While looking up this plant I found that this is not only a popular plant but has been described as far back as the mid-1600’s by the English botanist John Parkinson, an apothecary to James I, and originates in the Mediterranean. In America, Thomas Jefferson was known to plant this tall plant. It is supposed to get up to 8 feet tall. Its about 4 feet tall in my front garden that gets about 4 or 5 hours of direct sun a day.
The hollyhock is a biennial but is said to easily reseed as long as you mulch well in dry winter areas like mine.
The plant was started indoors using the Jiffy soil pellets set in a germination tray and heat mat. I grew them for a month in my south facing window, then moved them outdoors slowly. The plant only got a couple leaves in its first year and didn’t look like it was destined to survive. So you can imagine, I feel quite rewarded with the lovely plant you see below.
I paired the hollyhock with 3 lovely daisy plants I also grew from seed in 2009.
The information says this hollyhock could be a biennial. I so hope not as I have not gathered any seeds and did not care for the seeds I bought a couple years ago.