The Q&A Archives: Rust On Hollyhocks

Question: I have on my hollyhocks red/orange spots on the undersides of the leaves. It is slowly killing off the leaves, but the plants are still flowering, although not well. What is it and how do I control it?

Answer: Rust disease is common on hollyhocks. Rust fungi are ever-present in the environment, just waiting for warm, humid conditions to favor their growth. The best deterrent is to grow your hollyhocks in a sunny place with good air circulation to help the leaf surfaces dry quickly, which helps minimize spread of the disease. Practice good sanitation by cleaning up old, dead stalks and leaves and destroy. Remove and destroy infected leaves as soon as you notice them. Many people grow hollyhocks as biennials; the plants grow foliage the first year, and flower the second season. By planting seeds each year you will get an annual show of flowers.

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