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Artemis3Artemis3 Posts: 692

Recently, on Gardeners' World, Carol said that holly hocks are biennial, and I'm sure she knows what she's talking about.  However, I have some holly hocks in my garden that are flowering for the second year running.

I grew them from seed in the spring of 2014.  They grew nicely but didn't put them in the beds because I didn't know what colour they were, so I waited and waited.  I had no idea they didn't flower in the first year of their lives!

Luckily, the next spring they did and I put them in.  They grew to about ten feet in height and flowered all summer long.

In October,when I was tidying up the garden, I broke off their long stalks  (didn't even cut them) and left them to do the same next year.

imageThe turquoise circle shows the broken off, old stem.

This year, my two pink ones have come back - rust and all have produced several slightly shorter stems and plenty of beautiful flowerins.  Unfortunately, the creamy ones have behaved as Carol said they would and they're nowhere to be seen.

imageThe pink ones are over six feet tall.

imageA second, equally well flowering bunch. Sorry about the lack of photogrphic skills!

Are there exceptions to this biennial business, or WHAT? 



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  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,068 ; tricky one this ; might find some answers here .

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,068

    Foxgloves sometimes behave like this .

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,162

    I think they are often grown as biennials but in the right place they'll go several years. I love hollyhocks but rust affects them so badly that I've stopped growing them

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,068

    I totally agree ; rust seems endemic to the poor things . For aesthetic reasons , removal of badly affected leaves is the only viable option .

  • Mark56Mark56 Posts: 1,653

    Are there no newer varieties that are resistant to the rust? It's such a shame. 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,162

    I've had varieties said to be resistant to rust in the past, Mark. They don't resist hard enoughimage

    Maybe something better now. I passed some today, they look brilliant every year as I drive by. I don't stop and look closely, that might spoil it all

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,706

    The only way I can grow hollyhocks are certain types like peaches n dreams, if started early enough will flower at the end of the first summer. I lose all and any to rust over the first winter.

  • Artemis3Artemis3 Posts: 692

    Hi ChrissieB

    Thank you for your reply.

    I love your observation, " they don't bother to read the text books ?"


    I've reread my post and started to laugh about my lack of commas, parentheses and paragraphs.  It would seem that I'd forgotten all about their existence.  As to my "beautiful flowerins", my creativity knows no bounds tonight!

    I'm still laughing!

  • Artemis3Artemis3 Posts: 692

    Thank you, PaulB3, it's interesting and helpful in its way.

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