Hollyhock is an upright plant with sturdy flower stems. It is a tall, herbaceous perennial plant from Europe. The flowers attract butterflies and bees. Hollyhocks thrive in full sun and moderately fertile well-drained soil. Cut back spent flower stalks to encourage further bloom, or leave them to reseed. This old-fashioned flower makes an excellent addition to cottage gardens and mixed borders. Benefits:* A refreshing tea is made from the flower petals.* A nutritious starch is obtained from the root.* The flowers are demulcent, diuretic, and emollient. They are useful in the treatment of chest complaints.* A fibre obtained from the stems is used in papermaking.* The red anthocyanin constituent of the flowers is used as a litmus.
Sow indoors in spring or directly in well-drained seed compost. Just cover the seed with a sprinkling of soil on temp 15-21°C, germination 10-14 days. Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle, 3-4 weeks later, into individual pots. Grow on in bright cool conditions. Plant out in May/ June. It can be sown into a cold frame in mid-summer and planted out the following spring. Prefers a well-drained, moderately fertile soil in full sun.