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We often have native versions of familiar garden plants, and this one is particularly spectacular. Wild hollyhock is as showy as the 'garden variety', with giant white to pink flowers on towering stems. These guys like water (and in fact are also known as streamside hollyhocks), and frankly the more water they get (to a point, they still need well-draining soil) the more monumental they will be. I have seen some pretty massive specimens, so keep that in mind when you are picking a planting spot. Unlike common hollyhocks, wild hollyhocks are perennial and will come back year after year. 

 

This species is adapted to disturbance, particularly post-fire. That means they like areas with a lot of sun and not a lot of vegetation to compete with for light. This is similar to fireweed, and the two can be grown together. Other good companions include western coneflower, eaton's aster, and blue vervain. 

 

 

 

last image credit: Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service (retired), Bugwood.org, CC BY 3.0 US <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons

wild hollyhock

  • Iliamna rivularis

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