The Q&A Archives: Hollyhock Leaves Chewed and Have Rust

Question: My hollyhocks leaves have holes in them. Is something eating them and if so what and how to stop them. Also some of the plants have rust on them how can I stop this from happening and why does this happen?

Answer: Japanese beetles and the larvae of a couple of different moths enjoy the flavor of hollyhock leaves. An all-purpose neem-based repellent, such as Neem-Away (sold by Gardens Alive, 5100 Schenley Rd., Lawrenceburg IN 47025; 812/537-8650) keeps away more pests than the name suggests! 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 and discourage the sprouting of spores. Remove any leaves that have the slivery-gray or orange growth on the undersides. If it looks like you'll be in an on-going battle with this problem, use Gardens Alive's Soap Sheild to prevent future outbreaks. Best of luck!

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