With its two to three meters highhollyhock (Alcea rosea) or Althaea works wonders in all gardens, large and small. It evokes the coast and particularly the islands of Aix and Ré where it is omnipresent and sometimes exceeds the lowest houses. Fortunately, lovers of this type of plant can be reassured: no need to live on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to grow the Hollyhock and enjoy its abundant flowers all summer long, which come in many pastel colors or more. shimmering. Here is everything you need to know to sow, plant and maintain the Hollyhock, a beautiful hardy perennial that is suitable for the beginner gardener as it is easy to cultivate.
Sow the hollyhock or Althaea
Is the spring, in March or April, that you can start sowing the Hollyhock in place when you want to grow it as an annual. It is necessary that the outside temperature reaches at least 13°C. In the harshest climates, it is better to wait a little longer if the spring frosts are likely to be severe. On the other hand, sowing must wait until July if you want to grow the Hollyhock as a perennial (or at least as a biennial). It is also noted that autumn sowing is possible in the most southern regions.
It is strongly recommended to prefer sowing directly in place to take advantage of Hollyhocks that are larger and more vigorous than those sown under cover and then transplanted afterwards.
The sowing procedure is the following :
- Dig the soil deeply and take the opportunity to remove stones and weed roots.
- Enrich the soil with mature compost, for example.
- Sow on the fly or in pockets of 3 seeds directly in place, spaced from each other by 25 to 30 cm. If you want to form a group of Hollyhocks (massive), there is an average of 5 feet per square meter.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of loose, humus-rich soil or seedling compost,
- Tamp the ground,
- Water in rain.
Keep the soil moist with regular but moderate watering to allow germination, which can take up to three weeks. When the seedlings reach a height of 8 cm, it is necessary to proceed to thethinning which makes it possible to keep only the most vigorous ones, taking care to keep an interval of about thirty centimeters between each plant.
It can be noted that to be exempted from sowing, the gardener has the possibility ofbuy your Hollyhock seedlings in a bucket in a garden center. Before replanting them, the clods must be rehydrated. All you have to do is soak the buckets in a basin of water just before setting them up. The roots can then be carefully disentangled.
This bucolic plant loves rich, draining and deep soils. She likes it sunny and sheltered location. We do not recommend planting it in a container because it has long roots that are not very suitable for this type of crop since it needs enough space in depth. It is therefore not really the plant to offer to green a terrace or a balcony.
Cultivating the Hollyhock
The Hollyhock is a perennial which belongs to the family of Malvaceae. It has several advantages: its resistance to spray, its speed of development, its flowering in profusion and which lasts quite a long time as well as a great ease of cultivation. We just avoid installing it in clay soil.
Caring for the Hollyhock
This beautiful plant is so easy that it can reseed itself and grow in the slightest crack of a low wall or a paved driveway. This spontaneous renewal allows to regenerate its culture ofAlthaea over time, and this is a good thing, because usually the lifespan of this large flowering plant does not exceed 4 years. Be careful though, the beauty does not appreciate being moved once it is well rooted… Anyway, if it is necessary to transplant young shoots, you have to wait until they have formed 4 real leaves. .
The Hollyhock is satisfied with a sol sec. Apart from the rooting period which therefore follows sowing or planting the feet in pots, watering must be moderate.
In windy regions, it is essential to install a stake to which the flower stems are attached without tightening the ties too much.
In autumn, all aerial parts die. It is therefore necessary to cut at ground level then mulch the feet. The following spring, the plants will grow again.
Amending the soil before planting is sufficient, as this plant is content with ordinary garden soil.
Pests and diseases
Those are the excess watering which promote the occurrence of cryptogamic diseases, as well as the fact of wetting the foliage. It is noted that the Hollyhock is especially sensitive to rust which weakens the plant and creates aesthetic damage (spots, pustules, etc.), without however causing its death. The affected parts must be removed without delay and then burned. Horsetail slurry, nettle slurry, sulfur solution, are all recommended treatments in case of rust attack. But the disease can disappear spontaneously if the plants are well ventilated and the waterings are spaced out.
Finally, it is necessary to cut faded flowers gradually to take advantage of abundant flowering from the month of June until the end of September. And to sow other hollyhocks without breaking the bank, wait until after flowering the small cuts have formed. They are the ones that contain the seeds. All you have to do is harvest them when the weather is dry and store them under cover until spring.