English Names: Hollyhock, Althea Rose.
Large, widely open single or double flowers, five inches across, and ranging in color from yellow and white through pink and red, almost to black, on a spirelike stem sometimes over seven feet high. Leaves large, rough, irregularly round and wavy edged, mostly in a clump at the base of the plant. An old garden favorite and unequalled for plant ing in rows against walls or at the back of the herbaceous border.
A hardy biennial which self-sows so readily that it is often considered a perennial. Since the middle of the last century it has been subject to a fungous disease of such virulence that it has been excluded from many hardy gardens, and only now seems to be coming back into the favor it deserves. Thorough spraying early in the year, especially of the under side of the leaves where the disease appears as small rust spots, is the only preventive known.
Bordeaux mixture may be used or ammoniacal carbonate of copper, which will not stain the leaves. A sunny situation should be chosen and the ground should be deeply cultivated with a considerable quantity of rotted manure well worked in. The roots should be covered with manure in the winter, and plenty of water given in dry weather.
The single-flowered forms are handsomer than the double forms, and are usually of freer growth. The "Allegheny" Hollyhocks are a fine large-flowered strain, both single and double. There is a tendency in the double forms to be top-heavy, and all forms sometimes require staking. Propagate by seed (will blossom the second year) or, if free from disease, from cuttings from offshoots.