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Hollyhock Leaves Riddled with Holes and Spots

An old fashioned favorite, the 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.

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 nearby shorter plants while allowing the flowers to shine through.

A bit more information: Grow Happy Lights Hollyhocks, a more rust resistant cultivar, for vibrant colored single flowers on 5 to 7 foot tall plants. Start the seeds indoors in late winter for bloom the first summer or plant in the garden midsummer for flowers the following year. Plant seeds of hollyhocks every year for yearly bloom.

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