Alcea rosea 'Nigra'
- available to order from autumn
- 9cm pot
This perennial dies back to below ground level each year in autumn, then fresh new growth appears again in spring.
- Position: full sun
- Soil: moderately-fertile, well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: fast-growing
- Flowering period: June to July
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Towering stems rise above the hairy, lobed leaves from early summer bearing richly coloured, near-black, single flowers, each with a yellow throat. A magnificent biennial or short-lived perennial, this hollyhock is made for a cottage garden setting.
Please note: Rust is a very common problem on hollyhocks, and unless the plants have been sprayed intensively with fungicides, it is rare to see one that will not have been affected. We keep beehives here on our nursery, so we try to keep the use of chemicals to a minimum - and in our experience, while hollyhock rust may look a little unsightly towards the end of summer, it rarely has an impact on the plants' impressive performance.
- Garden care: Water well during dry spells. All hollyhocks are prone to rust. To prevent this, either spray with Bordeaux Mixture (organic) or Murphy Tumbleblite (non-organic) before the trouble appears, and repeat a couple of times during the summer. In autumn cut the plants back to 15cm (6in) from the ground.