The Q&A Archives: info on balloon flowers and hollyhocks

Question: Hi.
I think my balloon flowers need some more nutrients.
What is the best soil and fertilizer for them?

Also, I need to know what Hollyhocks need.
This would help me so much.
Thank you, Dorian

Answer: Balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) are one of the easiest perennials you'll ever grow, and they bloom in profusion in mid to late summer, when many other perennials are beginning to fade.

Balloon flowers grow in Zones 3-8. They thrive in full sun or light shade in well-drained garden soil. They appreciate a little afternoon shade in zones 7-8. You won't find a more carefree perennial! Just work a little slow-release fertilizer into the soil in spring, and pick off the flowers as they fade to encourage more blooms. Moderate drought conditions aren't a problem, but it helps to water the plants deeply when the soil dries out too much or if drought conditions persist. Balloon flowers are seldom bothered by insects, and they are very cold-hardy.

Hollyhocks are perennials or biennials depending on your climate. In USDA zones 9 and 10 they are biennials. In zones 3 to 8 they may live over the following winter and bloom again if you cut the faded flower stalks off at the base, but it is not guaranteed.

Hollyhocks like lots of sun and moist but well-drained soil. The also will need staking to support the tall stems in windy areas. You can feed with a slow-release fertilizer in the spring. Aside from that, they are reasonably easy care.

Best wishes with your garden!

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