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How to Grow Sidalcea

Sidalcea (sid-al-see-a)

A compound of two related genera, Sida and Alcea. The former comes from an ancient Greek name used by Theophrastus for the water-lily, the latter from Althaea, the generic name for hollyhock (Malvaceae). These hardy perennial herbaceous plants belong to the same family as the hollyhock and the mallow. Their flowers have delicate papery petals in varying shades of pink and purple. There are 25 species, all from western North America.

Species cultivated S. candida, 2-3 feet, flowers white, summer, Colorado. S. malvaeflora, 14-3 feet, rather twiggy in habit, flowers lilac, summer, California; var. listeri, pink. S. spicata, 1-3 feet, rosy-purple flowers, July-September, western North America. Some good cultivars include 'Brilliant', crimson; 'Elsie Heugh', pink, fringed flowers; 'Interlaken', pink; 'Puck', large clear pink flowers; `Rev Page Roberts', soft pink; 'Rose Queen', tall ; 'William Smith', salmon-red.

Cultivation Ordinary, slightly sandy soil is suitable; the position should preferably be a sunny border. Plant in the autumn or spring, and lift and divide every three or four years. Propagation is by seeds sown in .light soil in April, transplanting the seedlings in April or by division in October or March for the named varieties.

 



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