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The ultimate cottage garden choice, hollyhock sends up tall spires that cover themselves in flowers in beautiful colors. They're easy to grow from seed -- in fact, that's usually the only way they are found in garden centers.
Most hollyhocks are biennials, that is, they grow only foliage the first year, flower the second, and die that fall. However, if you establish a stand of hollyhocks, they'll reseed each year so there will always be plenty blooming. Interestingly, the flowers open from the bottom to the top of the spike throughout the summer.
These tall (up to 8 feet) beauties are ideal against fences or buildings where they can get natural support. Red forms are especially attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.