(Alcea rosea) A classic ornamental garden plant, this lovely biennial flower brings towering heights of color to your garden beds. Hollyhock's flower stalks can reach up to 9 feet tall! A member of the mallow family, it is related to okra, hibiscus and marshmallow. Hollyhock plants will typically produce foliage in their first year and send up a flower stalk in their second year. However, you can coax most varieties to bloom the first year if you provide an early, indoor start. Sow seeds directly into the garden about one week before last frost date. Seeds will germinate in 14-21 days. Hollyhocks thrive in full sun and moist, rich, well-drained soil. Space plants 18-24 inches apart. The delicious petals are perfect for salads and make a whimsical garnish. Once bloomed, the plants will drop seeds and typically come back reliably from seed year after year.