The Q&A Archives: Yellowing Hollyhock Leaves

Question: I have a hollyhock that was producing large, beautiful green leaves, and I was expecting great flowers from it later this year. It bloomed wonderfully last year, and until now it looked fine and healthy. Unfortunately, the leaves are turning yellow, and the plant itself appears "sick" all of a sudden. This doesn't look exactly like rust. We've had an unusually wet period these last two weeks, with rain nearly every day. Could this be the problem? What can I do to save this favorite plant?

Answer: Hollyhocks are susceptible to a number of leaf diseases, but based on your description I suspect the immediate problem is overwatering. Short of transplanting the plant to higher ground, which is nearly impossible with a mature hollyhock, the best you can do is hope for a spell of dry weather and hope the plant recovers.

Hollyhocks are usually very short lived and are generally classified as biennials, so it is also possible that the plant was somewhat weakened by age and the fact that it bloomed so well last year. By starting new plants each year, you'll have flowers every season.

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