spedigrees z4VTJune 9, 2011

Well as long as I'm asking for advice, I have another question about hollyhocks. To my dismay, HeirloomSeeds.com has suspended their business due to a serious illness in their family. :-(

Anyways my past experience with growing hollyhocks long ago was apparently with hybrid versions in beautiful colors which were perennial but defaulted to anemic pale yellow flowers after the first year.

Heirloom seeds sold only open pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds. (I'm so glad I bought from them last year but wish I'd ordered more seeds while I was at it!)

So, my first question is, does anyone know of another place that sells non-hybrid, open-pollinated perennial hollyhock seeds??

My second question is how much sun do hollyhocks need? I have a dismal looking stretch on the back of the house that I want to break up by the use of a row of tall spire-type flowers. Sunflowers would be perfect but this area gets strong sunlight only from early morning until noon, half the day, and I do not think that would be enough sun. Can hollyhocks do well with this amount of sunlight?

And lastly I have read that hollyhocks put down deep tap roots. Just how deep?? We have an underground drainage tile running around the foundation of our house and I want to be sure that whatever I plant will not put down roots that will grow into the drainage culverts.

Thanks in advance for any help with this problem and/or answers to my questions.

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I'm not sure, but I don't think that the tap roots on my hollyhocks ever got even close to my foundation drains. Mine grew in morning sun, until around 1:00 or so. I eventually got rid of them due to issues with rust.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 10:28PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I hadn't heard of hollyhock rust, Babs, so I looked it up and found a garden web thread about it. It sounds like rich soil may be a cause, so I guess I could spade some sand into the soil, and also I suspect that the fungicide I've used on my flowering crabapple might well solve the rust problem if it did occur. I might give them a go next summer. If they don't pan out, I too, can get rid of them and try something else. Thanks for the reassurance too about the tap root length.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:33AM
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I read the comments you are referring to. It is not the rich soil as far as I know. Hollyhocks grew on the top of the manure problem and looked pretty spectacular. Traditionally, that is where they were grown. I cover the soil with manure each year too and it keeps them healthy and happy. It is a conclusion when hollyhocks are growing in a parking lot that they unamended soil was not rich, etc. or that "amending the soil like crazy" did not somehow through off the balance of the soil itself. Straight, but aged, manure will be helpful in my experience.

When the hollyhocks get undermined, they get infacted. This can include them not getting enough nutrients, not enough air circulation, very wet conditions (those years with too much rain), the fungus spores also winter over on the unremoved foliage and leaves.

Other ways to prevent the rust is to grow the fig leaf type hollyhocks that are a bit resistant to rust. Remove mallow plants (Zebrina for example) that carry the rust fungus.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 12:18PM
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