The Hollyhock is one of our old favorite garden plants, indispensable for producing bold striking color effects in our flower-borders and shrubberies. It delights in a rich light soil and an open sunny situation.
Seeds should be sown as soon as ripe, in September or early in October, either in an open sheltered spot out of doors or in a cold frame, being covered to the depth of a quarter of an inch. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to be handled, prick them out about three inches apart in boxes, or singly in three-inch pots, in light rich soil composed of one-quarter very old manure, one-half good surface loam and one-quarter leaf-mold with enough sand to keep the soil open, all well-mixed together by having been turned over several times. Plant them out, where they are to bloom, in February or early in March, in specially prepared, well-cultivated soil enriched with well-decayed manure, the ground having been dug two feet deep and the manure mixed freely with the soil. When the flower-spikes appear, mulch the ground about the roots with a heavy dressing of half-rotten manure and support the flower-stalk by a good stiff stake eight feet long by two inches square tapering to one inch square at the top, the stake being sharpened and driven two feet into the ground. The roots should be given a fair supply of water but over-watering must be guarded against, as too much water seems to encourage the Hollyhock fungus, a disease which has ruined many fine plants. Should this disease make its appearance, pick off the affected leaves at once and burn them up to prevent it spreading.
The Hollyhock, in addition to being propagated by seeds, may be increased by cuttings of the young shoots which grow up from the old root. These should be taken off when about three or four inches long, and placed in a shady sheltered spot, in soil composed of sand and leaf-mold, until rooted, when they may be treated as recommended for seedlings.