South Louisiana mallows

madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)October 3, 2003

The consensus seems to be that hollyhocks are nearly impossible to grow in the New Orleans area. Does anyone know what other members of the mallow family will grow here?

I recently found a salt marshmallow growing wild nearby. When the seeds are ripe I plan to take some and try them in my garden next year. It has bright pink-red flowers and a purplish stem.

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bayoufever(z8 SE)

hollyhocks are members of the malvacea which include hibiscus. these do very well in new orleans and lucky you even some of the more tropical species survive most winters where you are. i am north of the lake and have to baby my tender ones indoors all winter, while my father in law, who also lives south of the lake has his growing as tall as his roof. you may find the hibiscus a suitable alternative to hollyhocks and the range of colors is staggering. some of this years winners at the local shows are listed at the link i will post and you can see for yourself.

Here is a link that might be useful: new orleans hibiscus society

    Bookmark   October 6, 2003 at 12:09PM
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SprightlyGreen(z9 N.O. LA)

I grow Malvaviscus drummondii, better know as Turk's Cap. It grows in full sun to shade. It looks best in partial shade or morning sun. Attracts hummingbirds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Turk's Cap

    Bookmark   October 7, 2003 at 2:42PM
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madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)

Thanks for the answers. I am ordering seeds of several species of hibiscus - I already grow tropical hibiscus, about 10 kinds. From a seed dealer with very unusual seeds I am ordering several mallows that are supposed to be good for heat, including Abelmoschus. I will report later on how they do.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2003 at 9:09PM
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hi there!cant understand why you are having such trouble growing holyhocks.was on a visit to my daughters in 1998,went to boston and got some seeds from a home there.planted the seeds,babied them (everyone said they would not grow in the south),put the plants in a bed outside and they have thrived and bloomed everyother special care.would love to share with you if you like?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 1:43AM
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I'm in Arabi (N.O. burb) and had a neighbor last year who grew a chocolate brown hollyhock that must have been 6 feet tall. It didn't come back but was fantastic.
Don't forget the rose of sharrons. I have the Texas star hibiscus. Its a great hardy type. And a variegated tropical that lights up the place. :>

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 4:04PM
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greenelbows(z9--so LA)

It just occured to me to wonder if people don't do well growing hollyhocks here because they aren't aware they're biennials. They tend to be weedy where I grew up (western Washington state) and I didn't try them when I was told they wouldn't grow here. The thing with a bienniel is it grows one year, blooms and seeds the second year, and then dies. If you collect some seed every year and keep them coming you can have them every year, and they will self-sow sometimes, but they won't come back otherwise. Great fun for kids--you make 'ladies' with a bloom and a bud or green seed-pod for the head, and the seeds decorate mud-pies nicely.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 8:10PM
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madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)

First, let me say that as I understand it Hollyhocks do not do well here for two reasons; one is that the climate makes them very susceptible to rust, the other is that they like many other plants cannot take our warm summer nights - it interferes with their matabolism.

I did buy a small annual hollyhock at a local nursery, and kept it alive for awhile, long enopugh to get blooms. I am also raising mallows from seeds I obtained, with mixed results. Slugs demolished many of them. others are doing OK but will not be big enough to bloom this year.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 8:25PM
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greenelbows(z9--so LA)

I got some Escar-go as much because I liked the name as because I wanted less slugs and snails, but it really does seem to get rid of them. I'm only now beginning to see a few of them, and just little ones, and I haven't applied any since last year. I think Slug-go is the same thing. If I remember right, it's an iron phosphate formulation that breaks down to be a fertilizer. Much better than poison baits that can kill the birds and your cats and dogs, or diatomaceous earth or beer that has to be renewed every time it rains (three or four times a day?!)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2004 at 12:06AM
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Not the topic but a tip on biennials. If you plant them in the Fall down here you will tend to get blooms that coming Summer. I have done this with several different types ... wall flowers come to mind.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2004 at 5:00PM
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sherri_louisiana(z9 LA)


I have had two hollyhock plants grow to over 6 ft here. (Ponchatoula) For me, they grew some the first year then really grew and bloomed the second year. I think one of the problems with hollyhocks is the heat. The one that bloomed this year could not take the heat we are having now, but earlier in the year it was beautiful. Add too much water to the heat and they just melt away. I tried planting malva zebrinas in pots in the fall, transplating in the spring. They bloomed some and the flowers were very pretty. But they could not take the heat and all the rain. I grow the Texas Red Star hibiscus, which is about seven ft tall this year and it will bloom from the really hot days until frost usually. I also grow the native hibiscus, cream color with maroon throat and some dinnerplate hardy hibiscus in pink and also maroon. I don't grow the tropicals because I don't like having to protect plants in winter. Keep trying with the hollyhocks, if you get just one to make it, it will be worth it. Sherri

    Bookmark   July 20, 2004 at 11:02PM
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nanadeb1(z9 S.LA)

I have a rose mallow that is up to the eave of house and has spread about 4'. It's in mostly shade and does very well.

Is this mallow in the hollyhock family? It resembles the

    Bookmark   July 21, 2004 at 6:44PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If you seed hollyhocks in mid to late September, they'll sprout and overwinter just fine and bloom the following summer, usually late May, early June here. Then if you let the seeds develop and fall, they'll sprout the coming fall and you'll have hollyhocks every year. The same with foxgloves, sweet william, wallflowers, poppies, and sweet peas.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2004 at 3:24PM
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