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 the plant after flowering. 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:Alcea rosea 'Nigra' - Has a deep red/maroon flower.
Alcea rosea 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.
Seeds to plant now:
Indoor or in a heated greenhouse
Aubretia, Rock cress, Aubrieta, Aubrietia
Floss flower, Ageratum
Swiss chard, Ruby chard, Rhubard chard