Description – A beautiful, cottage garden favourite, flowering in its first year. Robust, dwarf plants produce stout stems. Double, cerise-pink, fringed blooms from mid to late summer.
Sowing – Sow seeds on the surface of a good, free-draining, damp, seed compost. Cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a polythene bag at 15-20°C (59-68°F) until after germination which usually takes 14-21 days. Do not exclude light as this helps germination. Alternatively, sow in late summer in a cool greenhouse and then overwinter plants in cool, well lit conditions. Plant out the following spring. This method produces larger plants and is recommended if the soil is heavy or badly drained.
Growing – Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into trays or 7.5cm (3in) pots. Gradually acclimatise plants to cooler conditions for a few weeks before planting out after all risk of frost 45cm (18in) apart.
Aftercare – Plant out hollyhocks in sunny borders in fertile, well drained soil. Choose a position that is sheltered from strong winds. Space hollyhock plants at least 60cm (24in) apart to improve air circulation and help prevent hollyhock rust.
Flowers – June to August