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Hollyhock

Seed and care for these charming, heirloom favorites and they'll fill with pastel blooms growing up to nine feet.

HollyhockAn endless supply of blossoms! Home flower gardeners enjoy growing hollyhocks in borders or against walls and fences where their spectacular flowers stand tall above all else. The classic variety (Alcea rosea) has graced cottage gardens, outbuildings and farmsteads for more than a century. Butterflies and hummingbirds find them very appealing!

Large, showy blooms of white, light pink, magenta, light yellow and burgundy completely cover sturdy 4- to 9-foot tall stalks. Hollyhock plants are considered a biennial, that is, they grow foliage the first year;  flower, produce seeds, and die the second year. These old-time garden favorites reseed themselves freely and flourish in sunny locations that are protected from wind and not too dry. Plants usually do not require staking.

Fun fact: Hollyhocks are closely related to okra, cotton and hibiscus.

Heirloom flowers​ will turn your outdoor space into a profusion of color!​ Planting instructions are included with each seed packet and shipping is FREE!​

Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Caring for Hollyhocks

  1. Enjoy a colorful show of flowers deep to vibrant colors
  2. Plant seeds outdoors in full sun to part shade
  3. Keep well watered; fertilize regularly for prolific blooms
  4. Plan for stalks up to 9 ft. tall
  5. Will self-seed; blooms early to late summer

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 365 days or more from seed to flower
Height: 4 to 9 feet
Spacing: 18 to 36 inches apart in all directions

Site Preparation

Hollyhocks will thrive in full sun to partial shade and rich, moist soil. Prior to planting work plenty of organic matter, such as compost or aged animal manure, into the garden. This helps condition the soil, which improves drainage and increases its ability to hold water and nutrients (watch 6 Tips for Growing Great Flowers – video).

How to Plant

Sow hollyhock seeds outdoors just beneath the surface of the soil 1-2 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 10-14 days. Thin to 18-36 inches apart after seedlings have sprouted.

Water as needed during dry conditions to keep flowers blooming. Adding an organic flower fertilizer every few weeks will result in bigger, bolder blooms. When flowers fade, cut stalks to the ground.

Insect & Disease Problems

Hollyhocks are vulnerable to a number of garden pests including thrips, Japanese beetles, sawflies and spider mites. Watch closely, and if problems exist treat with organic pesticides for immediate control.

Foliage is susceptible to fungal diseases, such as anthracnose, rust and powdery mildew, which can disfigure the leaves under severe infestations. To reduce plant diseases common to hollyhock:

  • Avoid overhead watering whenever possible (use soaker hoses or drip irrigation)
  • Properly space plants to improve air circulation
  • Apply copper or sulfur sprays to prevent further infection

Seed Saving Instructions

Hollyhocks will cross-pollinate. Gardeners should only raise one variety at a time to save pure seed, or isolate varieties by 1/4 mile. Seeds are ready to harvest when the seed capsules are completely dry and brown. The capsules can then be picked and the seeds easily separated from the paper-like husk.

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29 Responses to “Hollyhock”

  1. hanna on February 22nd, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    Hollyhocks are stunning gorgeous whether we can plant it in kerala.

  2. Renaldo Recinos on May 4th, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    I have seven foot tall Hollyhocks in my backyard they are beautiful and I live out in the high desert in souther california where it snows sometimes…

  3. Marilyn on March 12th, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

    How do you plant hollyhocks just from seeds, My husband is trying to grow them but they look so spindly any suggestions?

    • Lisa Stevens on May 12th, 2015 at 10:30 am #

      Sounds like they need more sun to me. But the first year you probably will only get green growth and then second year get big plants with flowers on them. Check out Gardenweb.com for more help.
      Lisa

    • Carrie on March 22nd, 2017 at 9:52 am #

      If leggy or stringing, needs more light or sun.

  4. Mikemaloney134@gmail.com on July 7th, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    Do they grow back year after year?

    • Anonymous on July 9th, 2015 at 6:11 am #

      Yes

      • Anonymous on August 2nd, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

        They’re Perrinneal in most places I believe.

        • Irene Wilson on July 2nd, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

          They are bi-ennial plants. Last only two years but will reseed itself from the prolific seeds each flower produces.
          I live north of North Dakota and they thrive here in the summer so are hardy enough to survive our harsh winters.

  5. Mimi on August 8th, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    Are hollyhocks susceptible to deer and/or rabbits?

    • Barbara Harvey on June 30th, 2016 at 5:14 am #

      They will not go out of their way to eat them, but if the hollyhocks are on a path deer follow, they will.

  6. trevor hunt on October 12th, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    can you grow hollyhocks indoors

    • Dancer on October 13th, 2015 at 1:07 am #

      They are 7′-9′ tall…. guess you have a big conservatory. Only way to find out is to try it. My personal opinion is that they are magnificent plants and deserve to be displayed to their ultimate, wherever that may be.

  7. Jerry D. Horner on October 26th, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    I live in Mid-Central Florida. Will HOLLYHOCK THRIVE here? I’ve always had those beautiful creations in my life.

  8. lydia on February 13th, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    I live in the desert. I’m going to get to plant holly hocks. I hope the ground is good for them. If not… what is good to use for compost?

  9. Jimmie on April 7th, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

    This year’s hollyhocks are 9 and 10 feet tall. My seeds were passed down from my departed mother 2 years ago. I started my seeds in potting soil in old clay pots. When they were 1 foot tall I planted them pots and all breaking the pot so the roots can spread. They are great healthy and loaded with blooms from 4 ft up to 10 ft. Phoenix Az

  10. Gail on May 12th, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

    Can you divide a hollyhock plant like you can a hosta?

    • Melisa on June 25th, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

      We’ve dug them up and transplanted successfully.

  11. Jayne on June 18th, 2016 at 9:26 am #

    My hollyhocks were blooming tremendously. All of a sudden, the buds dried up. What happened? I watered them some; maybe not enough. Thanks.

    • Sheila on July 12th, 2016 at 8:11 am #

      Same has happened to mine all of a sudden the buds dried up. I am also looking for a solution.
      Tnx.

  12. Anita on June 22nd, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

    I planted hollyhocks from seed last year and they produced massive leaves like expected. They were expected to flower this year and I haven’t seen anything produced yet. Any suggestions?

  13. Dean on June 23rd, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

    Am confused about the seeds. I am gathering a mass amount of blooms that are falling off, here in mid-summer. Will they turn to seeds or is it just the ones after the first heavy frost in the fall. None of them seem to be making seed. So, I was just wondering if its just the ones that dry on the stalk in the fall or fall off in the fall, or the blooms that fall off all during the blooming season. Thank you for you reply. I have some huge whiter ones and purple ones that some friends want seeds from. Also, do you just mix the sulfur with water and spray on the leaves?

  14. Jboz on June 16th, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

    Is it to late to plant these? Location is in central Texas.

  15. Lee on July 30th, 2017 at 1:08 am #

    Love the hollyhock, they come up very year from last years seeds. They grow anything from four to nine feet in my garden. I have them all round the place now, with several different types single and double, and red to pink and white. They begin by looking like a pumpkin plant, with huge leaves then they send a big spire of flowers up. I love them and rely on them as the basis of my summer garden. They follow the Shirley poppies and larkspurs so the garden is a tall garden against a two story house so it’s in great proportion. Latter zinnias and calendula provide the colour. Theses plants are watered with recycled grey water and whatever rain my fall. I live in north west New South Wales in Australia so it’s hot and dry generally with cold frosts over winter.

  16. Penny field on November 19th, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

    I collected hollyhock seeds from vacant lot and hope to plant them next spring. Your directions say plant 1-2 weeks before last frost. How will I know when the last frost will be arriving? What if I plant them and then it’s not the last frost?

  17. Joel on February 2nd, 2018 at 7:34 am #

    I come from the South east part of France “Mountain” from June to August hollyhock pop up in every crevice of the old street, no one seeds them, no one fertilizes them. It snows in the winter up to a foot, it freeze for around 5 months nice and balmy in the summer medium humidity, rain showers here and then. I am surprised by all the requirement I see as well fertilizing, sometimes plants need to be left alone and thrive.

  18. Neethu on April 1st, 2018 at 6:20 am #

    I planted seeds by purchasing from amazon online. I ordered dark coloured but all plants flowers bloomed in white and powder puff colour only. Anyway I introduced to my village those flowers first. So many seeds produced from my plants and taken away by my near and dear.

  19. Sharron on May 17th, 2018 at 11:33 pm #

    I’ve planted some hollyhock plants because of my childhood memories. We used to make hollyhock dolls.
    1. You need one open flower and one bud
    2. Stick a toothpick into the open flower halfway in.
    3. Poke eyes, nose and mouth on the flower bud with the stem side down.
    4. Attach the head to the skirt. You’ve made your first hollyhock doll!!

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