Alcea, commonly known as hollyhocks, is a genus of about 60 species of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae. They are native to Asia and Europe.
Hollyhocks are popular garden ornamental plants. They are easily grown from seed. Hollyhocks are annual, biennial, or perennial plants usually taking an erect, unbranched form. They grow leaves the first year and flower, seed and die the next. However, depending on growing conditions and the hardiness of the plants, they frequently live longer than 2 years; in some climates, they are more of a short-lived perennial. The herbage usually has a coating of star-shaped hairs. The leaf blades are often lobed or toothed, and are borne on long petioles. The flowers may be solitary or arranged in fascicles or racemes. The notched petals are usually over 3 centimeters wide and come in an assortment of shades of white, yellow, pink, maroon and red flowers.
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 birds and butterflies