Single-blossom hollyhocks are less frilly than their double-blossom family members. About 1/4-inch long, hollyhock seeds develop inside disc-shaped pods at the base of blossoms. Each pod contains a circle of seeds lined up like slides in a miniature photo carousel. The pods are ready to pick when their papery shell turns yellow or golden brown, according to Wuv’n Acres Gardens. Hollyhocks are known for cross-pollination and for transforming into different blossom colors from season to season, depending on the species with which they have crossed.
Happy Lights, or Alcea rosea, is a vivid mix of yellows, reds, pinks and white blossoms that are 5 inches across. It is "the most rust-resistant Alcea on the market and one of the heaviest bloomers," according to Gorge Top Gardens.
Fig-leaved hollyhocks, or Alcea ficifolia, have distinctive foliage similar to the leaves of fig trees. As with Alcea rosea, they come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, red, copper, yellow and the deep maroon of Black Cherry Fig. Wuv’n Acres notes that ficifolias are said to be more resistant to rust disease than roseas. Perhaps this is part of what the website Annie’s Annuals and Perennials means when it says ficifolias are more vigorous. Overall, though, hollyhock rust can be minimized, according to Annie’s, by planting in full sun, removing rust-spotted leaves and avoiding overhead watering.
Similar to other hollyhocks, Alcea rugosas of many colors are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. One favorite for fluttering wildlife is the single yellow, an Alcea rugosa also known as Russian Hollyhock. It originated in Russia as its common name implies and has the crinkly leaves of rugosas. It pairs well with the lavender blossoms of catmint, or Nepeta, according to White Flower Farms. The floral spikes of most hollyhocks are tall; Alcea rugosa is no exception, reaching a height of 6 feet.