hollyhocks growing crooked

Asked July 29, 2016, 11:36 AM EDT

Instead of growing straight and tall, my hollyhocks grow twisted and crooked. Maybe because they're planted too close to each other? I live in Spain, the summer is long and very hot and very dry. We water them daily.

Outside United States

3 Responses

It's hard to say. It could be a virus infection; hollyhocks are subject to a number of cultivation issues and they can cause odd growth. The other possible suspect would be insects, especially aphids. They can cause leaves at least to curl and be deformed. Other insects may be affecting the stems and causing them to curve.

Did they grow ok there last year? Has there been any change in how you grew them (light, fertilizer etc?). Is it the same or a different variety? It's difficult to assess plant health issues from a distance but with some more specifics about the situation and context, as well as some photos (close up and general of the plant) may help someone narrow down your search.

Thanks for your reply. The hollyhocks grew crooked last year also.No changes as far as I know. I got the seeds from hollyhocks growing wild (and straight). These hollyhocks are in their second year, they're from the original ones I planted 2 years ago. I see wild hollyhocks along the roadside that nobody waters and they're magnificent! I include 2 photos (one twice by mistake), I don't know if they'll help.

These help. Thank you. I know it may only the time of the day these were taken, but the plants do seem to be straining towards the light. More likely, I wonder about the condition of the soil. They seem rather cramped tight to the concrete pad. Often around constructions like this, the soil is very poor, consisting of construction debris and backfill. Although they are tall, the leaves look small and the overall condition is spindly, suggesting either lack of light and/or poor fertility in the soil. Since this is the way they have grown both years you've had them, suggests it is something in the growing conditions.

I think I can see some evidence of the typical rust infections that afflict so many traditional varieties of hollyhock. I would suggest perhaps removing these, redigging the bed, both deeper and larger ensuring ample good-quality soil and then perhaps trying one of the newer more rust resistant varieties.
Good luck