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Hollyhock Leaves Riddled with Holes and Spots

An old fashioned favorite, hollyhock, is easy to grow, but the leaves are often riddled with orange spots and holes. 

Rust is the cause of orange spots on leaves. Though it looks bad, your plant will survive.  A thorough cleanup in fall will help reduce the source of disease next season.

The hollyhock weevil eats small irregular holes in the leaves, while Japanese beetles can riddle the leaves with holes eventually skeletonizing them.  Knock these pests into a bucket of soapy water to reduce their population and feeding damage.  Remove weevil infested seedpods to reduce future infestations.

Caterpillars and sawflies can also eat irregular shaped holes in the leaves.  Look for them at dusk on the underside of leaves and along the stems and remove any you find.

Healthy plants will survive these pests.  Consider masking the damaged leaves with shorter nearby plants, while allowing the flowers to shine through.

A bit more information: Increase your success controlling rust on hollyhocks by removing rust susceptible weeds like mallow and velvetleaf near the garden.  Or replace susceptible plants with the rust resistant Fig-leaved (Alcea ficifolia) or Russian (Alcea rugosa) hollyhocks.


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