Hollyhock - Alcea rosea
Hollyhocks like rich, free draining soil in a sunny position. They are perennials, but are usually grown as biennials.
They can suffer from rust, there's not too much that you do about this, apart from remove plant the plant after floweing. However, companion planting with Achilla millefolium (common yarrow), the leaves and roots are rich in copper which is a natural fungicide, which may help.
They will self-set freely or pick off the seed heads and sow the seeds as soon as the are ripe in pots or open ground in autumn, they will flower the following year.
Suggested sowing time:
(Key: sow indoors, sow outside, sow outside under cover.)
Varieties:Chater's Double - has a double flower and is named after the nurseryman W. Chater who grew hollyhocks in his garden in the 1840-50's.
Nigra - has a deep maroon flower.
Seeds to plant now:
Indoors or in a heated greenhouse
Outside under cover