Alcea or Althaea is an old garden favorite, commonly known as Hollyhocks are a group of biennials and short-lived perennials, grown for their tall spikes of 4-5 inch (10-12cm) showy flowers with some species having double flowers and reaching a height of up to 8 ft. tall (243cm), spreading up to 2 feet (61cm). Needs full sun and well-drained soil with a long blooming period. Propagate by seed in late summer or spring. Can be grown as an annual. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and some light shade but will not tolerate wet winter soils. Even though the plant is considered a short-lived perennial, it easily self-seeds and can establish itself in the garden for years to come.
USES: Mixed borders, Perennial gardens, Bee and butterfly gardens, Cottage gardens, Walls, Fences, Border backgrounds, Hummingbird gardens, Wildflower Gardens, Informal gardens, Coastal gardens, Cut flowers, Landscaping
TOLERATES: Rabbits, Black Walnut, Deer, Heat Tolerant
Botanical Name: Alcea rosea var. 'Nigra'
Common Name: Deep chocolate maroon, almost black flowers with yellow throats 2-4 in. (5-10cm)
Flower Color: Black
Flowering Time: May to October
Plant Height: 6 feet (180cm)
Plant Width: 2 feet (60 cm)
Light Requirements: Full sun
Soil Requirements: Well drained / Average
USDA Zone: 3-9
AHS Heat Zone: 10-3
Sowing Instructions (Cliff Notes Version): To grow as annuals, sow seed at 55°F (13°C) in late winter, or on site in mid spring. For biennials and perennials, sow seed on site in midsummer. Transplant in autumn if required when 2 or 3 true leaves have developed.
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