Hollyhock (Alcea rosea), is a herbaceous sun-loving perennial/biennial from the eastern Mediterranean and is, like the Rose Mallow, a member of the Malvaceae family. Growing tall spikes of flower 4 to 8 feet high, hollyhocks bloom continuously through the summer and are a cottage garden favorite, particularly useful for background screening or where vertical accent is desired. Hollyhocks come in a myriad of flower colors, from pastels to near black, and are adaptable to a variety of soil types.
While hollyhocks typically need a good deal of sun, they may be successfully grown in Davis with as little as half a day of sun and filtered afternoon shade. Foliage is also said to be highly susceptible to spider mites and diseases such as rust, but Davis'climate doesn't seem to encourage this problem to the degree it can be seen in local roses. Propagation is by seeds either put down by the plant or harvested and planted in late summer or spring; plants bloom two years after planting.
For a listing of other plants found growing in Davis, visit our Town Flora.
I grew a really beautiful dark red hollyhock last year, here in Davis. It grew really well in the Davis soil, but I had to water it a lot because it was in full sun. I like hollyhocks because they have tap roots, and that's just cool somehow. —SummerSong