An 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
- Enjoy a colorful show of flowers deep to vibrant colors
- Plant seeds outdoors in full sun to part shade
- Keep well watered; fertilize regularly for prolific blooms
- Plan for stalks up to 9 ft. tall
- 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
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.
- 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.
Provides organic matter and natural nutrients for flowers and vegetables.
Fish & Seaweed (2-3-1)
Use on a regular basis for bigger crops, increased sugars and better blooms.