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Hollyhocks are like the energizer bunny
Almost 5 years ago I bought one Malva sylvestris Zebrina.....dwarf hollyhock according to the tag. It was about 18 inches tall and that first summer it was covered in small purple and white striped flowers.
I enlarged the bed around it and the birdbath that fall and since we had a mild winter the original plant survived and thrived. The next summer the bed was filled with 2nd generation plants and the original one started growing. By it's second fall in my yard, it was roughly 5 feet tall and 3'-4' in diameter. That fall was rainy and warmish so lots of my plants believed it was spring and started blooming again.
That winter we actually did have some ice and snow that covered the hollyhock to the point that I really expected it wouldn't survive a 2nd winter. The snow melted, sun came out and the plant picked right back up where it left off and kept growing. The ice had bent the tall stalk over onto the ground, but it didn't break. It just started growing up along the stem.
The 3rd summer was really hard on the already weakened plant and by fall all the plants were pretty much gone, so I pulled them up. In the process of carrying them from the bed to the compost pile, they dropped seeds everywhere. The next summer I had them all over the yard and filling the bed. Last summer was #4, I really had my doubts about anything surviving out there and for the most part I was right.
But last week I noticed some green peeking up thru the leaves that were mulching the bed. Sure enough the bed is filling up again with hollyhocks.....and it is only January 17th.
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Great story Toni. What a survivor eh. Now tell me, are you pleased or displeased that you have some unexpected new hollyhocks?
Oh, I am tickled purple with white stripes. :)
My yard is filled with hollyhocks and I didn't even plant them. The climate must be right because they grow everywhere, even in ditches by the side of the road. I love hollyhocks. My grandma had them when we were kids and we made dolls out of the blossems. Mine aren't striped though. I had one grow taller than the eaves on the house. No picture though.
Hi Toni , One of the reasons I like botanical names is they are the proper names .What you have, Malva Sylvestris is a mallow , they are popular here in ireland , but I consider them a weed . The hollyhock is a plant called Althea Rosea and is a lovely plant , Just to further confuse Althea Officianalus is the Marsh Mallow, if you like them then they are not a weed Bugs
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