Monday, November 09, 2009

Alcea Rosea

Alcea Rosea | Hollyhock, Malva Rosa, Rose trémière

Also known as Althaea rosea, the Hollyhock is a biennial that originated in Asia Minor. It is one of the oldest plants in cultivation, having been found in Chinese gardens by the earliest European visitors. These short-lived plants produce flowers in a wide range of colors. Flowers can be single or double. Hollyhocks can be encouraged to behave more like a perennial by deadheading. Prune severely in late summer, and allow new basal foliage to take over.

Historical Reference: The hollyhock is a native of China, botanically described as a biennial. It was evidently a cultivated plant in China when first brought to the attention of European visitors, since it is said to have been "of many colors and forms." Most likely, its colors in the natural state were rose-pink tending to red and white. The real reds and the present deep maroon shades would naturally be obtained rather easily by selection. The yellow color is, in the opinion of some, a much later acquired one, and the least likely to come true from seed.

   The standard cyclopedia of horticulture
   By Liberty Hyde Bailey
   Published by The Macmillan Company, 1915