Worst hollyhocks and morning glories ever

schoolhouse_gwJuly 16, 2011

This year is the worst I've ever had for these plants. The hollyhocks were fabulous last year and since they are biennials I realize not every year came be so, last year's seedings have to grow up. BUT - the disease is terrible on them this year. Normally this month I'd be pulling off yellowed and rusted leaves around the bottom and somewhat up the stocks, then all would be well til Fall. Not so this season.

I was talking to the vet's wife across the road who maintains beautiful perennial borders, and she said last year hers had the most ugliest disease or condition she'd ever seen. Not rust particularly, but something "horrible" -her words. She pulled her hollyhocks.

Morning glories - I've never had yellowed leaves, leaves with brown patches, and spots before. I'm baffled. The only thing different is that I bought transplants from a different nursery this year and didn't start them from seed like I sometimes do. Too much water? Not enough water? I have no idea, I've been offering both. The blooms are beautiful however, sparse so far, but beautiful.

Just venting. Wondering if anyone else is experiencing more problems than usual. Other than lack of rain in some of your gardens, I should be lucky we haven't had that problem yet.

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Morning Glories have been OK but I pulled all my hollyhocks a couple weeks ago - completely covered with rust despite spraying, ect. Broke my heart because they are my very favorite flower and remind me so much of my grandmother, aunts and mother - they were a mainstay in their gardens .....


    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 9:50PM
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Our hollyhocks were really rusting, thought we were going to have to pull them also but my husband sprayed them with a systemic rose spray that stopped the rust in its tracks. He pulled off the worst rusty leaves also and now they are coming back with no sign of rust.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 10:54AM
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I will try the spray and especially next Spring when the plants start Spring growth. For some reason I wait too late to do that, used to dust but it didn't help much; and like I said the problem resolved itself after awhile. Not this year.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 11:24AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

I grow my hollyhocks behind a big evergreen shrub. All you can see is the flowering tops and none of the rusty bottoms ;-)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 12:40PM
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In Spring, my 2nd year HHs were fabulous, although sparse. Had some surprising new colors! I planted no new seeds. Strange. Have no idea where those colors came from.
Since June, however, and the onslaught of the Heat Dome over the state, the younger ones that were just beginning to bloom became stunted, but no rust. Not as many came back from this year, surprisingly.
I was just thinking about cutting off the seed stalks and let them come back from their bases, when all of a sudden, those brown, seedy stalks popped with a few large blooms of vivid color. Weird! I wonder if this is because the days are starting to get shorter now?
I am so sorry to hear that your HHs and MGs got sick. I bet your neighbor's diseased plants infected yours. Bees and other pollinators can transmit it from flower to flower.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 2:29PM
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roseberri, z6(6)

Schoolhouse, I'm glad you posted this (not that you are having trouble but about the trouble)
I live in Oh too and I used to grow hollyhocks...I Love Hollyhocks! but have had to quit because of the bad diseases which defoliate the plant and then one year they seemed to bring the sawflies which I had never had before. These in turn attacked all my roses, so the hollyhocks had to go.After seeing an old post in the gallery I was going to ask you how you were getting them to grow so well.
Here our summers have gotten so much hotter and the winters not as cold as they used to be.Also alot more bug problems, some I had never seen before. sorry this post has gone on so long!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 3:49PM
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lois(PA Zone 6)

I had the opposite problem with my hollyhocks. Last year they looked horrible, but this year they look good. I wish I could tell you what I did right this time but I really don't know! The only thing I did different was plant the hollyhocks where they got more water and fertilizer than they did last year.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 9:44PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

I am in Canadain Zone 3a and I have never had a hollyhock do well for me unless it volunteered from the ones that didn't do well the first year. Last year, the only one I planted was a Chatter's double yellow. This year, the only one I got was this volunteer. But it sure is pretty! Not much problem with rust here. Most of the hollyhocks act as perennial......at least the ones around my neighbourhood. :( Not mine.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 11:58PM
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lois(PA Zone 6)

That's beautiful, honalee.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 9:28PM
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freezengirl(3aMN and 5AK)

Apparently hollyhocks aren't really an option in this part of Alaska. I had beautiful hollyhocks in my zone 3 MN gardens though never could grow the doubles, only the old fashioned singles. Regarding HH rust-since the rose fungicide worked on the HH, I wonder if trying vingigar water would work. I use about 1 TBS cider vinigar in a windex sized bottle of water on my roses, even the rugosa roses which won't usually tolerate sprays. Works like a charm (and cheap!), it would be worth a try anyway.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 10:28PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Thanks Lois. I think water and fertilizer makes a huge difference. The seed from this guy probably sat dormant for about 5 years. That's the last time I remember starting any burgundy ones. It popped up in one of my iris gardens that I have filled with iris since I planted that one 5 years ago! We have had an unusually wet year and I fertilize my irises with alfalfa every fall. Somewhat awkward place to take root but it sure is pretty.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 10:36PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I have a hollyhock that grows to 4" tall EVERY YEAR. It has never flowered, just sits there...I grew it from seed and do not have the heart yet to oust it. Perhaps when we get the backyard done we can transplant it. Until then....

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 12:19AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I get rust AND hollyhock weevils. I gave up. Sometimes if you stop growing something for a few years then try again you have healthier plants. Maybe I'll try again in a few years.

I also had bad luck with morning glories last time I grew them two years ago. The plants turned yellow, got spider mites, and did not bloom much. I'll give them a try in a few years too.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 2:05AM
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I have the weevils most years too and use an insect spray. They can devastate hollyhock blooms by sucking the buds before the flower even opens. As far as the rust, I know it's caused by fungus; and I'm not as tidy about clean up as I should be. So last Fall I removed all the spent foliage and as much of it on the ground as I could and put it in bags. This Spring I did the same thing with any debris remaining. Well, apparently the spores are in the soil too so perhaps skipping planting years like Renee suggests prevents those spores from reproducing and they eventually die off as there are no hosts.

As I said, some years are better than others - this was a BAD year.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:10AM
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Not sure about the spores being in the soil, skipping a year, etc. My hollyhocks were back in a spot they hadn't occupied for 50 years, and they still got rust. None of the other assorted hollyhocks in other parts of the yard were affected, tho they did get lace leaves like always.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:53PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

Sorry about your problems with hollies and morning glories, Schoolhouse. It's always something with a garden, isn't it? Luckily for my hollyhocks, northern Michigan is generally pretty hospitable to them. It's fun to see what colors show up -- I've never had exactly the same color combos two years in a row.

Here's a small corner that I tucked a few into. There used to be some super-dark ones in there, but this year it's mostly the yellow.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 8:01PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Beautiful!! They don't come more cottagey than that!!! I love,love,love pink and yellow together and with the daisies and marigolds?, it just looks like a picture out of a Beatrice Potter storybook!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:01PM
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New here.... I planted some hollyhock seeds in early April. They are growing great, no rust, but there is a problem. Mine are not growing upwards. They are spreading out like a vine! I do not know if I got bad seeds or what? The leaves of them are exactly like every other Hollyhock plant. I know they take two years to bloom, but mine has spread easily 3-4 feet outwards instead of up. What should I do?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 2:53PM
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??? Are the plants in full sun, not reaching out from shade? I have no clue. Unless you have a variety of mallow, sometimes these are sold under names such as "dwarf hollyhock" or such. Some mallows will grow along the ground but I didn't think exclusively. Curious. Let us know if they bloom!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 5:27PM
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Northtexan3 -

I would take a photo and post it in the name that plant forum. Folks there are really good at plant ID and can tell you if you have some type of hollyhock or something else. You might get the scientific name, but you can just plug that into your favorite search engine to find more info, including the common name.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 8:08PM
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northtexan3 - I just read the post on "French Hollyhocks" and then did a search of the plant. Pictures of them are what I suspected yours may be, only I called it "Mallow" and appears what I meant was "Malva".

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 2:33PM
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