Heirloom & Perennial Ltd

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Alcea Rosea Nigra, Jet Black Hollyhock


Mentioned in 1629 and planted in the gardens at Monticello by Thomas Jefferson, this heirloom variety has almost-black flowers with a hint of red.

Edible perennial, usually grown as an annual. Hardy to zone 6. Succeeds in most soils. Poor soils should be enriched with organic matter. Prefers a heavy rich soil and a sheltered sunny position.

Sow May-July, or February for first year flowers. 2-3 weeks to germinate at 16-18C. Will flower in 16 weeks.

Height 90-180cm. Spread 60cm.

Sow 6mm deep indoors, setting plants out at 45-60cm apart, after last frosts.

Stake plants in exposed sites.

The flowers are an alternative ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost.

The seed contains 12% of a drying oil.

A brown dye is obtained from the petals.

Edible uses
Young leaves - raw or cooked. A mild flavour, but the texture leaves something to be desired. They have been used as a pot-herb, though they are not particularly palatable. They can also be chopped up finely and added to salads.
Inner portion of young stems - raw. 
Flower petals and flower buds - raw. Added to salads. 
A nutritious starch is obtained from the root.
A refreshing tea is made from the flower petals.

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