Hollyhock Planting and Care Guide
Quick Facts About Hollyhock
Hollyhocks are old-fashioned favorites that are often associated with a cottage style garden. They're perfect for the back of the border due to their height, and they have masses of open, bee-friendly blooms. Hummingbirds will find them too! Hollyhocks are typically considered to be short-lived perennials. The first year of growth is foliage and root development. The second year they bloom profusely, and then they die back.
Directly sow Hollyhock seeds in the early spring when there is still a frost expected. Or, start the flower seeds indoors 8 - 10 weeks prior to the end of frost season. Both of these sowing times will produce foliage/root growth the first year and blooms the second year. If living in a mild climate, the Hollyhock seeds can be started in the fall. Fall plantings will typically produce plants that bloom the following summer.
Plant Hollyhocks in full sun and in moist, well-draining soil. Because of their height, they should be located in the back of the garden. The tallest varieties are not suitable for containers.
How to Plant Hollyhock
- Hollyhocks do have a tough seed coat, so a soak in tepid water for 12 hours prior to planting is helpful
- For indoor sowing, start Hollyhock seeds in peat pots filled with soil
- Press the seed into the soil, but it does need light for germination, so do not cover
- Keep the seeds moist and warm for germination
- Place seedlings in a bright sunny window or under grow light for continued growth
- Once temperatures have warmed up outdoors, harden off the Hollyhock plants for 7 - 10 days prior to planting out
- Hollyhocks form a deep root, so it's possible that the entire peat pot will need to be planted
- Or, for outdoor sowing, weed and prepare the soil to a depth of 6 - 8 inches
- Add compost to improve the soil
- Firm the seed bed and press the Hollyhock seed into the soil gently
- Allow the area to stay moist
Care And Maintenance
- Hollyhocks prefer moist soil for establishment and during their bloom time
- Provide stakes or support of some kind for areas that are not protected from the wind
- After blooming, deadheading will prevent self-sowing
- If self-sowing is desired, leave the tall stems in place, but cut them back hard in the fall
- Mulch in the winter is helpful to provide protection