17 Hollyhocks Origin, Description, Cultivation, Care, Properties 2022

17 Hollyhocks Origin, Description, Cultivation, Care, Properties 2022

Alcea is a genus of over 80 species of flowering plants in the Hollyhocks family Malvaceae, commonly known as the Mallow. They are native to Asia and Europe. The single species of hollyhock from the Americas, the streambank wild hollyhock, belongs to a different genus.

Origin, Description, Cultivation, Care, Properties

The Hollyhocks is a delicious plant for the garden. It is straightforward to grow and requires almost no work once established. It is drought tolerant and will grow in most soils as long as they are well-drained.

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For the most part, it is a hardy perennial that blooms each year profusely and is loved by butterflies, but due to its high gummy content, it is avoided by wildlife. Plant in full sun and cut the stems at the end of the year. That is all you need to do to enjoy this beautiful plant.


1. Origin of the Hollyhocks

The common Hollyhocks grows in lawns, gardens, roadsides, waste areas, and farmland. It originated in Europe, Asia, and North Africa and is also found in America and Australia.

Hollyhocks is a delicious plant for the garden. It is straightforward to grow and requires almost no work once established.

2 Hollyhocks description

Hollyhocks is an unusual plant in that it does not always behave in the same way at all times. While it is most commonly found growing as a shrub, it can also grow along the ground and look more like a ground cover.

In most cases, it acts like a hardy perennial that dies in the ground during the winter months, but in some cases, it will behave like a biennial living only two years, but sometimes up to four.

Growing conditions are most likely the cause of the variation, but specific studies have not yet been conducted to verify this. For the most part, it acts as a hardy evergreen shrub. It sends out many stiff, upright stems that can reach 4 ‘(122 cm) tall in early spring.

The stems are generally linear, with little necessary branching. The leaves are bright green, broadly flat, webbed with wavy or serrated edges, slightly wrinkled appearance, and long, thin, stiff stems covered with fine hairs.

The leaves on the vertical stems tend to be slightly smaller and are arranged sometimes alternately and sometimes in pairs. The flowers are borne profusely on each leaf axis, sometimes directly from the leaf and sometimes on small branching stems of up to six to a leaf axis.

The flowers have five large notched petals that are generally pink or mauve with darker purple veins radiating from the central column of the fused stamens.

The flowers bloom 2-5 cm wide from mid to late summer, often so prolifically that the entire bush appears to be a mass of flowers.

The flowers are followed by flattened, rounded seed pods known as ‘cheeses’ due to their shape. The whole plant has a slightly soft appearance and is very slimy, making it primarily unpleasant to wildlife.

3 Hollyhocks botany

The word “Hollyhocks” is derived from Old English “meal,” which was imported from the Latin “Malva,” akin to Ancient Greek (malakhē), meaning “Hollyhocks,” and perhaps both reflect a Mediterranean term. The mauve color was named in 1859 after the French name for this plant.

Common names: Malva, malva zebrina, malva azul, pastel de queso, malva alta, malva de mantano, flor de queso, malva (Spanish), malva (German), rödmalva (Swedish), malva (French), almindelig katost (Danish) ). Althaea Gordonii. Althaea Mauritiana. Ambiguous mauve. Erect Hollyhocks. Mauritian Hollyhocks.

17 Hollyhocks Origin, Description, Cultivation, Care, Properties 2022

4. Hollyhocks varieties

  • Malva Alcea: it is a plant of the Hollyhocks family native to the southwest, central and eastern Europe, and southwest Asia, from Spain in the north to southern Sweden and east to Russia and Turkey.
  • Lavatera Assurgentiflora – Now classified as Malva assurgentiflora, island Hollyhocks, mission mallow, royal Hollyhocks, island tree mallow, pink Hollyhocks, is a species of flowering plant in the mallow family.
  • Malva acerifolia: synonyms Lavatera Acerifolia, Malva canariensis, rock Hollyhocks in Spanish, is an endemic shrub of the Canary Islands, belonging to the Malvaceae family. It grows in the basal parts of the islands in a dry and sunny environment. He loves nitrogen-rich soils, especially those that are somewhat rough.
  • Malva moschata: the musk Hollyhocks or musk Hollyhocks, is a flowering plant belonging to the Malvaceae family, native to Europe and southwest Asia, from Spain north to the British Isles and Poland, and east to south of Russia and Turkey. Growing up to 24 in (60 cm) tall, it is a perennial herbaceous plant with hairy stems and foliage and saucer-shaped pink flowers in summer.

5 Types of Hollyhocks

  • Malva aegyptia
  • Malva aethiopica
  • Malva catharsis
  • Cretic mauve
  • Hispanic Hollyhocks
  • Hollyhocks macrocarpa
  • Malva microphylla
  • Malva mohileviensis
  • Malva neglecta: dwarf Hollyhocks, seaweed, eggplant, seaweed, common Hollyhocks, round-leaved Hollyhocks
  • Malva niceness All. – French Hollyhocks, bull Hollyhocks


  • The flowers are borne singly or in clusters in the axils of the leaves that bloom from June to late autumn. They have five petals and are white, pink, or lilac flowers, averaging 1 to 1.5 cm wide.
  • Leaves: typical Hollyhocks leaves are alternate, on long petioles, circular to kidney-shaped, serrated and shallow 5-9 lobed, 2-6 cm wide. Short hairs are present on upper and lower leaf surfaces, margins, and petioles.
  • Height: This plant can grow from 10 to 60 cm in length.


The seed shape is where this plant gets its common name from algae or cheese. The leaves are alternate, palmately lobed.

The common Hollyhocks grows in lawns, gardens, roadsides, waste areas, and farmland.

6. How to grow Hollyhocks

  • Hollyhocks is an easy plant to grow, and the seeds tend to germinate quickly. While direct sowing is possible with Hollyhocks seeds, sowing indoors allows plants a start to the season and provides greater control over your plants.
  • Follow our general growing instructions for the best results. While the seeds can be sown anytime starting in spring, it gives the most extended growing season.
  • Germination is best between 53 and 68 ° F (15-20 ° C), but plants will grow at higher temperatures. Prune the seedlings in your pots when they are large enough to handle and gradually grow hard before planting. Hollyhocks plants will spend their first year establishing their root systems and generally flower prolifically in their second year.
  • Soil Type: Hollyhocks is not very fussy about soil type, but it should be well-drained. Mallow cannot tolerate damp or saturated soils, especially those that tend to retain water during the winter months, as this often rots the winter roots. It is pretty happy in poor soils, but adding a little extra compost will produce a much better crop of leaves and flowers.
  • If leaf production is required, it is not recommended to provide a good compost preparation for feeding nitrogen-rich fertilizers, as these plants tend to concentrate nitrates in their leaves.
  • Hollyhocks is very hardy and grows well in grasslands such as surroundings, sandy soils, and even gravel. It is quite tolerant of salt, making it a good choice for coastal gardens.
  • Spacing: Hollyhocks plants tend to grow with age. They can be planted in groups or even used as seasonal mulch. Leave at least 48 “(121 cm) between plants to ensure they have enough room to spread.

7. In a garden

  • Where you place your Hollyhocks plants in the garden will determine what format and how they grow. For the most part, hollyhocks can be a bit unpredictable with their shape, and you may need to experiment with placement to find the most desirable form for them. 
  • Hollyhocks likes a location in full sun but can tolerate some shade for the most part. For warmer areas with higher levels of sunlight, some shade is suggested for part of the day, preferably around noon. Hollyhocks is a very hardy plant and is very cold tolerant and survives down to -4 ° F (-20 ° C). Therefore, in warmer areas (8 and above), it is recommended to place the plants to catch the breeze to ensure that they do not overheat during the hot summer months.
  • A location in full sun is ideal. You can tolerate some shade in the morning and late afternoon and still keep the habit upright. Zones 4 and lower are recommended in full sun and good root mulch late fall to help them through the winter. This plant will do well for many years with a bit of coverage.

8 Flowerpot

The tree Hollyhocks is ideally suited for growing in pots or garden boxes. Very resistant withstands low temperatures down to 5 ° F (-15 ° C). In summer, water as soon as the soil is dry. Add fertilizer for flowering plants throughout the year.

9 Hollyhocks care

  • Watering tree Hollyhocks: Although this plant does not require a lot of water, it is essential to water it during the first year after planting to develop, and the plant can settle down.
  • Trimming Hollyhocks tree: Remove wilted flowers during bloom regularly to encourage blooming. It is essential to prune again in early spring to give the plant vigor and prevent it from overgrowing. Avoid pruning in the fall, which could cause the stump to rot.
  • Japanese beetles consider the foliage and flowers of this plant to be tasty treats. Hollyhocks is prone to oxidation (small orange to brown blisters on the underside of leaves), especially during the summer heat. Although not harmful to the plant, rust is unsightly. Control rust by removing affected leaves early on and keeping foliage dry. Learn how to prevent Japanese beetles from eating your Hollyhocks plants.
  • Water this perennial in summer for prolonged dry spells or strong heat waves.
  • It is better to water at night so that the water is not lost to evaporation.
17 Hollyhocks Origin, Description, Cultivation, Care, Properties 2022
17 Hollyhocks Origin, Description, Cultivation, Care, Properties 2022

10 Hollyhocks harvest

Don’t try to harvest anything from first-year plants:

  • Best gathered in early to mid-spring, when leaf production is highest. Later use only newer glossy green leaves, do not harvest old leaves. They tend to be harsh and unattractive.
  • Flowers: At any moment, the plant is blooming.
  • Roots: Usually harvested in the fall after the plants have gone dormant. Dig out whole plants or remove some seeds from the larger group when the plant reaches a size that will allow it to withstand the removal of some sources.

11 Seeds

  • The common Hollyhocks reproduces only from seeds. The primary growing months for the common Hollyhocks are from April to November. The seeds germinate continuously during this time. The flowers appear from May to October.
  • Select a planting site with total sun exposure. Plant the “Majorette” hollyhock in well-drained soil in the spring. Stick the seed into the ground with your thumb and cover the hole, planting the seed no more than 1 inch. Leave at least 18 inches between plants. Alternatively, plant this flower in a medium pot with a mixture of 2 parts peat to 1 part loam and sand. Plant one hollyhock per pot.
  • Water the seed is completely saturating the soil. Keep the soil constantly moist during germination, which generally takes about two weeks. After germination, water the hollyhock up to about 3 inches when the soil dries out.
  • Water the plant slowly and deeply. When the flowers bloom, water at about 2 feet per week. Don’t let the ground get waterlogged.
  • Fertilize your “Majorette” Hollyhocks weekly during spring and summer. Apply a balanced, general-purpose fertilizer diluted to half the manufacturer’s recommended concentration. At this time, apply organic compost, such as mushroom compost or seaweed.
  • Immediately cut off faded flowers with pruning shears to encourage new growth. When the plant dies in the fall, cut it back about 3 inches above the soil line. Make all pruning cuts at a 45-degree angle.

12 flowers

Hollyhocks flowers come in pink, white, purple, red, yellow, or orange shades, which look stunning when mass-planted in gardens or borders. The individual flowers comprise five heart-shaped petals, many of which feature darker veins.

Flowers appear from early summer through fall as long as decay occurs to encourage continued blooming. Malva’s large medium green leaves create a coarse-textured background for your flowers and other nearby plants. Some species are specifically grown for their flowers. Other species are prized for their leaves, used as cooking vegetables or medical remedies.

Hollyhocks is an unusual plant, as it does not always behave in the same way at all times.

13 Properties and benefits of Hollyhocks

Standard Hollyhocks root extracts have been used to treat tuberculosis, and new studies have found it to be an effective treatment for high blood sugar.

As a natural astringent, anti-inflammatory, and emollient, common Hollyhocks plants are used to soothe and soften the skin. High in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium, and vitamins A and C, the common Hollyhocks was a good source of nutrition in many recipes.

14 Food uses

Edible parts: All parts of this plant are edible. The leaves can be added to a salad, the fruit can substitute for capers, and the flowers can be tossed into a salad. When cooked, the leaves create a mucus similar to okra and can be used as a thickener for soups and stews.

The flavor of the leaves is mild. The dried leaves can be used for tea. Hollyhocks roots release thick mucus when boiled in water. The created viscous liquid can be whipped to make a meringue-like substitute for egg whites.

15 Medical uses

The common Hollyhocks was once highly regarded as a medicinal plant by Native Americans. They chewed its tough root to clean their teeth. The common Hollyhocks was also used to treat wounds, toothaches, inflammations, bruises, insect bites or stings, sore throats, cough, and urinary, kidney or bladder infections.

The leaves were bruised, then applied to the skin to remove splinters, thorns, and stingers as well. Standard Hollyhocks root extracts have been used to treat tuberculosis, and new studies have found it to be an effective treatment for high blood sugar. As a natural astringent, anti-inflammatory, and emollient, common Hollyhocks plants are used to soothe and soften the skin. It is an anti-inflammatory, diuretic, demulcent, emollient, laxative, and expectorant.

17 Hollyhocks Origin, Description, Cultivation, Care, Properties 2022
17 Hollyhocks Origin, Description, Cultivation, Care, Properties 2022

16 Other uses

The stems contain a valuable fiber for making paper, twine, and textiles. Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads.

17 Mallow curiosities

The Hollyhocks has been considered the “most important plant in the local gathering society in Jewish culture.” Every spring, the Mallow is harvested in the field. Its common name in Hebrew and Arabic translates as ‘bread.’

This plant is one of the first mentioned in the recorded literature. The doctor of the third-century a. C. Diphilus of Siphnus wrote that “[Mallow] juice lubricates the trachea, nourishes and is easily digested.”

Horace mentions it about his diet, which he describes as very simple: “Me pascunt olive, / me chorea Levesque malvae” (“As for me, olives, endives, and Mallow provide sustenance”).

Do Hollyhocks come back every year?

Hollyhock plants readily reseed themselves, so once you have a nice batch, you have a lifetime supply. Hollyhocks begin as a low rosette of floppy, slightly fuzzy leaves. The growth is just vegetative in the first year but by the second year the stem begins to form and flowers appear near the beginning of summer.

Where is the best place to plant Hollyhocks?

Plant in a well-draining area with full sun to partial shade. Due to their height, protect from damaging winds and provide support such as a fence, wall, trellis or stake. Hollyhocks will readily self-seed if left to their own devices, so locate them in an area where this won’t be a nuisance.

Do Hollyhocks spread?

Growing Hollyhock Flowers

For best performance, irrigate from below and provide good air circulation. Once you get Hollyhocks established you will have them forever. You will have to be sure and dead head them to prevent getting too many, they spread easily but that is all part of gardening.

How long does it take for Hollyhocks to grow?

Sow hollyhock seeds in a cold frame or protected seedbed in the early summer. In rows 6 inches apart, just press seeds into the soil. Keep moist and protect from the sun. Seedlings emerge in 12-21 days

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