Few flowers are as impressive as the stately hollyhock, some varieties of which can reach 9 feet in height. Native to Asia and Europe, Alcea is a genus of about 60 species in the mallow family. The more recognizable is A. rosea, which is hardy to Zone 2. They prefer regular moisture in well-drained soil and even a touch of shade. Usually considered a biennial, hollyhocks can self-seed in prime locations, making them seem a perennial. Hollyhocks have been noted for centuries, with mention of them around 200 B.C. by the Greeks. And they made their appearance in Colonial America, with one John Josselyn admiring them in New England during his visits in the mid-1600s.