× Alcalthaea suffrutescens 'Parkallee'
hollyhock (Syn Alcea × Althaea Parkallee)
Marvellous architectural plant giving rapid drama and scale to an open sunny border.
- Position: full sun
- Soil: moderately-fertile, well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: fast-growing in height and spread
- Flowering period:July to November
- Hardiness: fully hardy
This tall perennial has been developed by crossing a common hollyhock (Alcea spp.) with an Althaea. The goal was to produce a plant which put on a prolific dispaly of flowers, but didn't suffer from rust like a hollyhock. After many years of development, this is the result - and we think it's a cracker. Unlike the more upright hollyhock, it will quickly form a spreading vase shape, and its stems will be evenly studded with open bowl-shaped flowers from July to November. Each flower emerges a light apricot and fades to a buttermilk-cream as it matures. At the centre of each, are pronounced bronze stamens, and a central frill of what looks like tiny petals, which creates a very attractive detail. In the October 2010 issue of Gardens Illustrated, Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers, lists this as one of his seasonal favourites and we have to agree. This is a brilliant, long-flowering plant, that will provide a voluminous display of colour year after year.
- Garden care: Water well during dry spells. To prevent 'rust' from taking hold, either spray with Bordeaux Mixture (organic) or Murphy Tumbleblite (non-organic) every 10-14 days. In autumn, trim the stems back to within 50-60cm from the ground, and as you see new grwoth breaking through in spring, you can cut it back harder if desired. Cutting it back a little later in the year will help keep it more compact. Avoid excessive winter wet.
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