Hollyhocks - pretty to look at, but not to touch!

dailyharmonyMarch 31, 2010

We were pleased to find that we have very nice, tall hollyhocks that bloom in a corner garden of our backyard planted by a previous owner. I was displeased to find out that I appear to be allergic to them if any part of the plant actually touches my skin - I had an awful rash on all exposed skin for about a week after cutting them down at the end of last season. Is proper care for these simply cutting down the stalks to the ground once blooming has finished and the plants turn brown?

In the event that we decide to get rid of these plants, how do you go about doing that? They are fairly well contained where they're at, but the thought of having to deal with the rash every year is a bit of turnoff and the space might be better used for other plantings. Not to mention they're huge! Easily 5+ feet tall last year.

Also, does anyone know if these plants are toxic to dogs? I've read mixed reviews on it, but have put up a small fence around this area to keep our pup out just in case.

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The ASPCA does not list hollyhocks as being poisonous to dogs, cats or horses. The leaves and stems are covered with urtricating fibers which can be irritating. These are small glass-like fibres that break off in your skin when you brush against them. There is no toxin injected when this happens, it is rather like the rash that is caused by handling fiberglass insulation.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 4:19PM
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jungseed(z4b & z2b)

So sorry to hear of your rash. I love hollyhocks and the great childhood memories they bring out. Remember making hollyhock dolls as a kid?
And no, hollyhocks are not poisonous to animals. Maybe the people claiming they are a problem are mixing them up with delphiniums.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 4:22PM
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beck_wi(z5 WI)

I love hollyhocks and have wonderful memories myself-- but never made a doll from them.

As for how to get rid of them? Dig them up... but be warned, they spread by seed so you might be digging them up for some time.

If you really don't want them, I'm sure there are plenty of folks who would take them off your hands.
In fact, if I lived closer I'd dig them up for you if I got to to keep them.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 12:56PM
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Delphiniums are toxic? What way and what quantity?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 2:46PM
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jungseed(z4b & z2b)

Yes, delphiniums are poisonous. All parts of the plant are. It causes burning of the mouth and throat. Upset stomach, nevousness, nausea, vomiting and constipation.
Not a serious poison in small amounts, just keep small children and pets away from them.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 8:46AM
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Delphiniums are poisonous? My rabbits eat them. They love them more than almost anything else. Every year I try a new variety or a new spot and within a few weeks they are completely eaten.

Maybe they just need bigger quantities. I wonder how much it would take to make them really sick.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 4:47PM
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jungseed(z4b & z2b)

They must need more than they are getting. I bet they would have to eat alot. Maybe you can use carrot juice to get them to eat more. (that was a joke folks, don't get upset at me)
I really don't know how toxic they are for sure, they are listed in our poisonous plant list. But then so are apple seeds. Next to apple seeds it says they can be fatal, I wonder how many you would need to eat for that.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 11:50AM
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Thanks for all the responses, and for the confirmation that they're not toxic to animals. I think this year when I trim them back at the end of the season I'll prepare accordingly and be covered from head to toe!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 8:13AM
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I grew up with hollyhocks next to grandma's house. I wasn't crazy about them then.
we recently moved to a house with hollyhocks predominently on the south side of house. While they are pretty, they also spread all over and are a mess in the fall.
I decided to dig most of them out and have only a few to cover the meters on house. What a mistake that was. I ended up with a severe rash all over my upper torso. It started small and just grew and grew. My doctor thought I had shingles. I have been on prednisone pills and cream for almost 2 weeks and the rash still continues to be miserable, itchy and ugly. I will NEVER get close to these things again!! Anyone in my region is welcome to come get all the babies they want, as they spread everywhere.
I am sticking(pun) with my rose bushes and would rather get a rose nettle imbedded in my finger.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:59PM
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