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How to Grow Hollyhock From Seed

Jill likes cooking, writing, painting, & stewardship, and studies gardening through MD Master Gardener & Master Naturalist programs.

This guide will show you everything you need to know to grow, care for, and propagate the wonderful biennial Alcea rosea, also known as hollyhock.

This guide will show you everything you need to know to grow, care for, and propagate the wonderful biennial Alcea rosea, also known as hollyhock.

Spring and fall are the best times to start the wonderful hollyhock (Alcea rosea) from seed. The entire process, from sowing to transplanting seedlings, takes about nine weeks.

This growing and maintenance guide will cover the following topics for this biennial:

  • Prepping seeds for germination
  • Sprouting and growing seedlings
  • Transplanting seedlings
  • Getting hollyhock to bloom
  • Collecting seeds
  • Saving hollyhock seeds
Hollyhock tends to grow true from seed, even hybrids like this double pink.

Hollyhock tends to grow true from seed, even hybrids like this double pink.

How to Prep Hollyhock Seed for Germination

Water treatments are commonly used on seeds with hard shells. The water softens the seed casing, breaking the dormancy of the embryo inside and encouraging germination.

Because hollyhock seeds are large and have fairly tough seed coats, soaking them in warm water or hot water prior to sowing increases the percentage of seed that germinates. It also causes those that do sprout to do so more quickly.

Warm Water Treatment

Prior to sowing, give hollyhock seeds a warm water treatment by soaking them in water that is approximately 113°F (45°C) for roughly 12 hours.

Hot Water Treatment

Rushed for time? Try a hot water treatment. In the late 1960s, botanists at the National Botanic Gardens in Lucknow, India found that soaking hollyhock seeds in hot water anywhere from 60–70°C for 30 minutes greatly improved their germination rate.

Young hollyhock buds are tender and green, with a shape similar to their drying seed pods.

Young hollyhock buds are tender and green, with a shape similar to their drying seed pods.

When to Soak Hollyhock Seeds

Giving hollyhock seeds a water treatment is a good idea if you're using store-bought seed or seed that you've collected, dried, and stored.

If you sow them by breaking and scattering dried seed pods outdoors at the end of the growing season, there's no need to soak the seed beforehand. The rains, snows, frosts, and thaws of autumn, winter, and spring are all the water treatment the seed needs to prep it for germination.

Hollyhocks are well loved for their tall spires of multiple flowers.

Hollyhocks are well loved for their tall spires of multiple flowers.

Sowing Hollyhock Seeds in Spring

Here's how to sow your hollyhock seeds in the springtime.

Indoors

To start hollyhock seed indoors in the spring, begin in late winter, about nine weeks before the last predicted spring frost in your area. It's best to start the seed in individual pots, as hollyhocks (even seedlings) can develop long taproots that don't transplant well.

If possible, sow hollyhock seed in biodegradable containers, such as peat pots, newsprint pots, or paper towel and toilet tissue rolls (cut into 3-inch lengths). Although some gardeners recommend biodegradable egg cartons or even eggshell halves, they probably aren't deep enough to give hollyhock seedlings a good start.

Sow the seed in seed-starting mix with a little sand mixed in. Cover it lightly with soil, as the seed needs light in order to germinate. Place the pots on a sunny windowsill—under grow lights or in a cold frame—and keep the soil slightly moist throughout the germination process.

Outdoors

Hollyhock seed also may be directly sown outdoors in early spring.

One to two weeks before the last frost date, scatter seeds where you want the hollyhocks to grow, preferably by a doorway, along a fence, or at the back of a flowerbed. (Remember, hollyhocks are tall! And they don't transplant well, so be sure to sow them where you want them to grow.)

When temperatures reach anywhere from 59–68°F, the seeds will germinate. The resulting plants, however, probably won't blossom for another year.

Sowing Hollyhock Seeds in Fall

The best time (and the easiest time) to sow hollyhock seed is in autumn.

Simply sprinkle the seed onto soil that's been amended with lots of rich compost and cover it very, very lightly with soil. (As noted above, hollyhock seeds need light in order to germinate.)

In spring when the soil warms, the seed will sprout. And because it will have experienced bouts of winter cold—unlike spring-sown hollyhock—the plants will likely produce flowers in the first growing season.

Because of its height, hollyhock is perfect for the back of a bed or border.

Because of its height, hollyhock is perfect for the back of a bed or border.

Biennial Hollyhocks

Unlike perennial hollyhocks (Alcea pallida and A. rugosa), biennial hollyhocks A. ficifolia and A. rosea require two periods of cold weather before they will flower.

The first year, biennial hollyhocks grow vegetatively; that is, they produce only stalks, stems, and leaves—no flowers. They bloom the following year, unless brutal winter weather kills them.

To force biennial hollyhocks to flower the first year, treat them with gibberellic acid, a flower inducer that takes the place of a cold period. Planting them in fall may also induce hollyhocks to bloom the first year.

Biennial hollyhock planted in spring is unlikely to bloom the first year.

Biennial hollyhock planted in spring is unlikely to bloom the first year.

How to Transplant Hollyhock Seedlings

  • It's best to plant hollyhock seedlings outdoors when they're small, before they develop long taproots that don't transplant well.
  • As recommended previously, for good transplanting results, sow the seeds in individual pots so that transplanting causes less distress to the roots.
  • For the best results, sow seeds in individual biodegradable containers. That way, you can plant hollyhock seedlings in their containers outdoors without disturbing the roots at all.
  • Be sure to transplant hollyhock plants into fertile, well-composted soil in a sunny location.
  • Because hollyhocks are tall, they are excellent plants for the back of a border or flowerbed. They are also traditionally grown along fences, by gates, and next to doorways.

How to Care for Hollyhock

  • After transplanting seedlings into fertile soil in a sunny spot in the garden, keep the young plants moist. After a few weeks, when their roots are established, the hollyhock plants will need little care.
  • If blooms develop the first growing season, the stalks may need to be staked to prevent them from falling over under the weight of the plant's full, heavy flowers.
  • To keep hollyhock growing from year to year, allow established plants to self-seed, or scatter the seed yourself in autumn at the end of the growing season. (See directions for harvesting and saving hollyhock seed below.)

How to Harvest and Save Hollyhock Seeds

Collecting and saving hollyhock flower seeds is a simple process. In fact, it's so easy that it's an ideal garden activity for children.

Hollyhock seed pods are big and fuzzy, the seeds themselves thick and large—and very easy for little fingers to handle.

To collect and store the seeds, you'll need:

  • brown paper bag(s)
  • paper towels
  • empty seed packets or envelopes
  • resealable glass jar(s)

Harvesting

First, allow the hollyhock flowers to "go to seed."

When the flowers have devolved into large, brown pods, snap them off and drop them into an ordinary paper sack, such as a brown lunch bag, for safe keeping. While in the sack, they'll dry out further.

After a few days, remove the hollyhock pods, breaking them open onto sheets of paper towels. The seeds inside the pod will be stuck together, so you'll have to break them apart as well.

Almost every year, I pick the most mature green seed pods and bring them inside to dry. If the pods are spread out on a flat surface in a warmish room for a few weeks, the seeds can easily be removed from the pods. I have found that seeds from green pods dried this way have an astounding germination rate, even after several years of storage.

Drying

Place the individual seeds flat on the paper towels, removing the chaff with your fingers or with tweezers. Unlike snapdragon seeds, which are black and fine, hollyhock seeds are large and course. So you'll have little trouble differentiating bits of stem, pod, and other chaff from them.

Be sure to remove as much chaff as you can. Not only does chaff retain moisture, which could cause seed to rot, but it may also harbor fungal spores and viruses.

Storing

  • Seeds contain plant embryos that must be kept alive in order for them to germinate.
  • As a general rule, fresher seed is more likely to germinate than older seed, because the embryos in them are more likely to be alive. Conversely, older seeds are less likely to contain living embryos and are therefore less likely to sprout.
  • If purchasing hollyhock seed, check the date on the packet in order to select the freshest seed available.
  • To keep the embryos of seeds that you collect alive longer, store dry seeds in air-tight glass containers in a cool place, such as the refrigerator or freezer. Before refrigerating or freezing them, either place the seeds in small glass jars or place packets of seed in a large, sealable glass container.
  • Make sure the seeds are completely dry before storing them, as they have a tendency to mildew.
  • Adding a packet of silica gel to the container—like the desiccating packets found in new leather shoes and purses—will absorb any residual dampness in the seed and prevent it from molding. A teaspoon of powdered milk wrapped in Kleenex or a paper towel will do the same.
From bud to bloom, hollyhock is a show stopper.

From bud to bloom, hollyhock is a show stopper.

How to Propagate Hollyhock by Division

Hollyhocks can be propagated by division as well as by seed.

In winter, spring, or fall (when the hollyhocks are not blooming), loosen the ground around established plants. Then gently pull stalks out of the ground—retaining their long roots—and place them in a bucket of water.

Once you've collected all of the rooty stalks you intend to collect, immediately transplant them into your garden. As when sowing hollyhock seed, be sure to choose a sunny, rich-soil location that's right for a tall, tall plant.

Hollyhocks can also be propagated by division.

Hollyhocks can also be propagated by division.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: I planted hollyhock seeds this spring. They are growing well but are not very tall yet. What do I do with them this fall? Do I leave the tops or cut them back? I know they will not bloom this year.

Answer: Cut them back and put a thick layer of compost around them to protect the roots this winter and enrich the soil.

Question: How do I bloom a hollyhock that is almost a year old? It's not growing as long as it seems to be in photos. The leaves are coming in one by one.

Answer: Hollyhocks planted in the spring will bloom the second year, not the first. Just be patient!

Question: I’m planting a row of Hollyhock. How far apart should they be?

Answer: Plant them about three feet apart. Although the flower spikes are tall and narrow, the base of each plant will form a large mound if enough space is available.

Question: Can I transplant the Hollyhock seedling into a large pot not in the ground?

Answer: There's nothing to stop you! However, your plant will not be as large as it would be if you planted it in the ground. Also, you'll have to water it more.

Question: I intend to grow hollyhock against a short fence but that same fence and the neighbour's horrible van create shade in the area. Will the hollyhocks be okay?

Answer: Hollyhocks do fine in full sun or partial shade (three to six hours of full sun per day). Be sure to amend the soil with compost!

Question: Will three separate clumps, each a different color, planted within 20 meters of each other, cross-pollinate and mix colors?

Answer: Hollyhock does cross-pollinate. You'd need at least 300 yards (about 275 meters) between your plants to reduce the likelihood of cross-pollination.

Question: I’ve already mulched my flower bed and just remembered I have hollyhock seeds I saved. Should I move the mulch then scatter and mulch over?

Answer: Do move the mulch but wait until you have sturdy seedlings before mulching around the plants.

Question: The seeds have been in storage and are dry, do I need to soak them before I put them in biodegradable seed pots?

Answer: Soaking increases the chances of successful germination, so doing so is a good idea.

Question: I haven't had luck starting hollyhock from seeds, can I start hollyhock seeds inside hydroponically?

Answer: I'm not sure how large your indoor hydroponic setup is or what variety of hollyhock you intend to grow. For standard hollyhocks, it might be best to germinate your seeds hydroponically and then transplant the seedlings outdoors. Standard hollyhocks are huge plants in maturity, bushing out at least two feet at the base and setting stalks of blooms six feet tall or more.

© 2013 Jill Spencer

Comments

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on August 12, 2020:

I'm sure you can do it, MizBejabbers! For me here in MD, sowing them in the fall works best. Good luck to you! Jill

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on August 12, 2020:

I had to come back and reread your great article so I could restart some hollyhocks. My grrrr husband decided that mine were taking over the back yard, so he eliminated them all. I've tried starting some from seed, but they didn't germinate. I had several colors that I started from plants, but my DIL in another state with a similar climate gave me so seeds for yellow ones. My result was unsuccessful. But now I want to replant them in any color. I would especially like some with double blooms. I have several plants of their cousins, the Rose of Sharon or altheas, perennials that we started from cuttings.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on August 12, 2020:

Hope you’re successful! And don’t worry about the cold. It won’t harm hollyhock seeds. Best, Jill

Michael and Cecil Cates on August 11, 2020:

The information you have seems to be very helpful. I would like to start seeds soon but don't have a lot. So probably gonna do half now and half in the spring. We usually don't have a hard freeze after middle of February. Thank you for your help. Will sure be happy this time next year.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on February 03, 2020:

Thanks, inkXE.

inkXE from Los Angeles on February 02, 2020:

nice one

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 16, 2019:

Hi Michele! If you plan to save the seeds and plant them later, you should definitely dry them. If you're planting now, in the fall, without saving/refrigerating your seeds, you shouldn't have to dry the matured seeds more.

Michele on October 13, 2019:

Do you have to dry the seeds? My sister gave me seed pods from her plants and i want to plant them but am not sure where to start!

Nikki on August 16, 2019:

I want to plant seed along a wall, they get sun the first half of the day then shade. But it is a gravel channel - will they grow in a mix of gravel and soil?

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on June 22, 2019:

Oh no! If the pods are mature, yes, you can salvage the seeds. However, if the plant was destroyed before the seeds fully developed, they are less likely to be viable.

Mitzi on June 22, 2019:

A storm broke my hollyhock steams off at the root they were in full bloom can I salvage the the seeds

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on March 20, 2019:

Hi Renee! Soak seeds in the gibberellic acid solution overnight and then plant. Do this if your seeds are old. If they aren't, the water method would probably work just as well. Best, Jill

Renee P on March 20, 2019:

Hi Jill, thanks for all you excellent information!

You said to use gibberellic acid for possible same year blooms. Is this added when initially planting? or later after roots have formed?

Thanks!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on August 10, 2018:

You're welcome, Sianni! Thanks for stopping by. --Jill

Sianni on August 10, 2018:

All your advise were so very helpful regarding hollyhock plants

Thanks.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on July 12, 2018:

If you plant them in summer, they may germinate and then die as seedlings because of the heat or simply never grow to maturity. Also, if your plants do survive, don’t expect them to bloom. It would be best to do a fall planting for earlier blooms in the following growing season. Best to you! Jill

denise on July 11, 2018:

can i plant the seeds in the summer?

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 02, 2018:

Sounds like they were mis-marked. I've found seeds from Monticello and Southern Exposure to be reliable.

Katie on April 02, 2018:

Bought all black seeds but everyone is pink what is my pronlem? Thanks

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on February 08, 2018:

Hi Laurie! I'll bet you get some to germinate. Hollyhock has good germination rates. It's so great to see hollyhocks in gardens. The bees and other creatures just love them! Best of luck, Jill

Laurie R. on February 07, 2018:

I just adore hollyhock!!

So I saved seeds in a Tupperware container from a neighbors plants last fall, but just now read that they should have been stored in the freezer.

I plan to sow them indoors in a couple of weeks, so we’ll see if I have any results. Wish me luck!!!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on February 04, 2018:

Yay! It's like a miracle, isn't it? And yet the most natural thing in the world. Thank you so much for sharing your great story.

Lori on February 03, 2018:

We are in Phoenix, and when I had my first house in 1991, I planted a large flower garden (40+ rose bushes!). I also had a section of wild flowers. A volunteer hollyhock came up - no idea from where. Each year, as it dropped seeds, we had more and more plants. I collected seeds each season, and brought them with us when we moved to a different home. 15 years later, they are growing like gangbusters from that first plant!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 14, 2017:

Hi Mary,

It probably will set new growth and live, so long as it doesn't get mowed down again. Best, Jill

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 14, 2017:

Hi Roda,

I wish you lots of success with your seeds. I have new hollyhocks coming up this fall from seeds the old plant dropped. Hopefully, we'll have a real winter, and the new plants will produce flowers next year. That's the best thing about planting flowers in the fall-- early flowers!

Mary on October 14, 2017:

I planted hollyhocks from seed in the ground and most of them have grown into beautiful, leafy stalks. I'm looking forward to seeing them bloom next year. My husband just mowed over the biggest, most beautiful one. He feels terrible. I'm wondering if it can still survive from the stalk that's left in the ground. We live in Central Texas and the growing season isn't over yet.

Roda on October 06, 2017:

Your article is very informative, thank you. I will try planting the seeds this fall and hoping it germinates. It is my first time planting.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 25, 2017:

Hi Marie. I hope you do! The ones you planted previously may come up later, too. Sometimes conditions just aren't right, but later they are and germination occurs. I had that happen with some sunflower seeds I planted two years ago. A hard rain hit, washing out that area a bit, and the seeds germinated after all. Right in the middle of a path! A lovely row of fuzzy teddybear sunflowers. We just walked around them. lol Good luck to you!

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on September 25, 2017:

I tried growing hollyhocks from seed last year and failed.

As a child, I loved the single, pink hollyhocks that grew around the farmhouse. Always gone in winter, but back in spring and flowering in summer. They received no significant care and were always beautiful.

After reviewing this article, I may try again. Thank you.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 18, 2017:

Thanks for stopping by, Peggy. What a great bit on nostalgia!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 18, 2017:

Oh how lovely, Ingrid. No, I don't think nature would mind so long as you left some pods on the stems. Think of yourself as a bird or some other seed disseminator! lol I'm planting black hollyhocks this fall. Good luck to both of us! Best, Jill

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 18, 2017:

Hollyhocks are lovely tall flowering plants. I remember my mother telling me that people with outhouses used to often use them to decorate the outsides of those buildings. Interesting article about propagating these flowers from seed. Thanks!

Ingrid on September 18, 2017:

Thank you so much for your advise. I have just taken a couple of seed pods from a wonderful dark pinkish red hollyhock that stands in a small clump in a very dry and sandy area near the sea in Hampshire (UK) and that has been flowering the same colour only for all the 5 years I have walked past it. This year I thought nature wouldn't mind if I took a couple of seed pods - I shall be planting immediately (18 Sept 2017). Kind regards,

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on August 06, 2017:

Thanks for reading, RHeafner, and thank you for your kind words. Hope you consider joining HP as a writer. Best to you! Jill

RHeafner on August 06, 2017:

New to this site and thrilled at the wealth of useful information. I love hollyhocks. Thank you for this very useful article!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on August 06, 2017:

an-rtist-- isn't the natural world amazing? At the annual MD Master Gardener Training Day at UMD, the guest speaker spoke for a bit about his experience with just what you're talking about. In his case, it was cardinal flower that began to grow throughout his garden after he'd "disturbed" the soil by rearranging plants. Life is waiting to happen under our feet! Thanks for posting your story. Best, Jill

an-rtist on August 05, 2017:

My hollyhock story, summer 2017. A volunteer hollyhock grew in my garden. A lovely, white with cream center 12 1/2 feet tall! Having lived here over a decade and having no hollyhocks, I assumed a bird had deposited a seed. Reading online that these seeds can remain viable for years if deep and dark in the soil, I wondered if the excavation for my new garden room addition had unearthed a dormant seed. My 80 year old neighbor who grew up in this house confirmed that, yes, they had hollyhocks in the location of the new room. (As a child, she pulled the blooms and played with them as dolls.) I love that my beautiful hollyhock has such a intriguing (possible) story and has returned to its proper place! Thanks for this article which will help me keep it coming back!

Athlyn Green from West Kootenays on April 19, 2017:

I love Hollyhock. When we lived out in Alberta, they used to self-seed and would pop up all over the yard and were truly beautiful.

I'm now living in a different area of Canada and find they don't self-seed.

I like the different varieties, too. Shared.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 06, 2017:

Hi Bill! You can find it on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Gibberellic-Acid-1G-High-Qu...

bill stevens on April 06, 2017:

very nice article. Can someone tell me where to find gibberillic acid?

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 02, 2017:

What a wonderful story, Betty. Wish you'd write an article about it and post your pictures here on HubPages. I'm anxiously waiting for a new hollyhock I planted last year to shoot up flower stalks. I have no idea what color they will be (they were a gift from someone else's garden) but am hoping for black. Again, thanks so much for sharing the wonderful story. Fingers crossed for that future row of giant hollyhocks! Best, Jill

Betty on April 02, 2017:

I live in the harsh desert terrain along the southern Ca/Az border, zone 9b. Just outside of my husbands mancave (former back porch) this past winter, an interesting little plant popped up. The area where it sprouted abuts the alley and it's the most dry, crusty, inhospitable dirt you can imagine; weeds barely grow along that strip of dirt, so you can imagine my surprise when the little "not a weed" plant popped up. I have a vegetable garden in my yard, on the other side of the house, and I grew pumpkin last year, so, when it appeared out of nowhere, my husband asked if I had dropped any pumpkin seeds (as the young hollyhock leaves closely resemble the leaves on the pumpkin plants). I reminded him of exactly how much compost, etc it took to amend the ground where my garden is planted, so I doubted any vegetable seeds would survive in that desolate area beside the alley. Of course, I had wondered about the little plant, because it did have big pumpkin-like leaves... but then, it wasn't a vine, it had a bunch of long stemmed leaves, but that was about it. Well, my husband deemed it his plant (garden envy), put a little protector fence around it, and let it grow. It was about 4 feet tall when the region was blessed with some drought-ending, truly heaven sent rainfall; the next thing I know, the 6 foot tall stalks are almost 2 inches wide. It's now taller than my house (somewhere around 15 feet, in my opinion), with big, beautiful flowers painted in the most gorgeous color of faded pink, like you'd find when looking at antiques. My husband is so proud!! I'm happy; I'm waiting for the flowers to die so I can harvest some seed and plant all along the alley beside my house!! Thanks for the wonderful article!!

Robin Pappas on February 28, 2017:

How do you prevent the holly hock stems and leaves to stay healthy and green? Mine always seem to stival up and die

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on July 30, 2016:

I just now saw your comment! Sorry. In all probability, your plant will not produce flowers the first year if it's planted in spring. It will, however, put on a beautiful show during year two.

hMh on May 16, 2016:

Thank u for great info! If I have a tiny plant with roots will it flower in the first year or do I have to wait till year two like from seed ...I live in Zone 4b so am desperate to get baby roots in the ground! Thanks!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 07, 2015:

Good luck to you, Dave! Thanks for stopping by. Jill

Dave in okc on April 07, 2015:

Love hollyhock. Can't get them to germinate but still try every year. The water treatment is a great idea I will try this year. Curiously, some seeds I planted last year did not germinate but are coming up this spring. I remain hopeful.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 22, 2014:

Hey, Sierra! Go to my profile page, click "Fan Mail" and then, instead of sending fan mail, click "Send The Dirt Farmer a Message." I think that's how you get to it. I'll keep a lookout for your email. The HP messages usually go to my spam. Later, Jill

sierra on September 22, 2014:

I will picturesvwhen i get home. How can i get them to you?

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 21, 2014:

I'd love to see pictures, Sierra. Are you sure it's a hollyhock?

Sierra Woods from Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 21, 2014:

I have a gorgeous volunteer Hollyhock that is a stunning dark burgundy.

The flowers are almost over and I had intended to save the seeds for next year as this was the only one that was this color.

However, when I went to pick the seed pod, I discovered it's very different than the other ones in my yard. The seeds are incredibly tiny and very hard to get out. Could this be a hybrid that I won't be able to reseed?

Any suggestions? I have pictures if that would help as well.

Thanks

Sierra

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on August 22, 2013:

carter06, thanks so much! Appreciate the positive feedback--in fact, I can't stop smiling. All the best! Jill

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on August 22, 2013:

Good luck to you, Dolores! In my experience, once you get them started (cross your fingers) they go, go, go for years. --Jill

Mary from Cronulla NSW on August 22, 2013:

It's no wonder this stella hub won HOTD! Just found this comprehensive and so clearly explained hub & had to comment..I even think I with a green thumb could do this:) love hollyhocks!

Thanks for sharing this beautiful (photos are awesome) hub..Cheers

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on August 22, 2013:

I love hollyhocks but have not been successful with them. I must try your suggestions. Next year!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 10, 2013:

Oh, I see! Very clever! They'd make sweet little decorations for place settings. Thanks for mentioning this, ExpectGreatThings!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 10, 2013:

I'll take a look, too, ExpectGreatThings. I'm intrigued!

ExpectGreatThings from Illinois on April 10, 2013:

I just checked and there are tons of photos on Google images of hollyhock dolls. They are really cute!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 10, 2013:

Hi landocheese--Now with so many people using landscaping fabric and other barriers, self-seeders can have a tough time! It's always a good idea to hold a few seeds back and help nature along. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Nice to hear from you, Jill

Hi pinto2011--Awesome! The world can always use one more beautiful flower. Thanks for commenting! --Jill

ExpectGreatThings--I've never heard of a hollyhock doll but would love to see one. Hope you do a hub! Take care, Jill

ExpectGreatThings from Illinois on April 09, 2013:

I love hollyhocks! And your photos are gorgeous! Congratulations on HOTD; you totally deserve it. Thanks for the motivation to try these this year. We have friends who make hollyhock dolls for my kids each year :) Maybe I could grow them and make the cute little dolls for others...

Subhas from New Delhi, India on April 09, 2013:

Your hub has tempted me to grow one. Very nice and informative.

landocheese on April 09, 2013:

Nice article. I love Hollyhocks and wish I had room for more, but must keep it to a small areas. They do love to self seed, but you have done a very nice job of showing people how to save Hollyhock seeds for transplanting next year, which will offer more control of where they end up.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 09, 2013:

Hi skye2day! Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I appreciate them very much! --Jill

Hi Stephanie! Hollyhocks really aren't that much effort if you start them outdoors. And they sure are pretty!

Hi embarrett91 -- Luckily, seeds don't cost much, so you can always experiment, and flowers are lots of fun to grow. Thanks for stopping by! --Jill

Erika on April 09, 2013:

This is a great hub! I want to get more into growing this year, I tried squash last year and failed miserably, I think to start with some flowers would be best for practice. These flowers are very beautiful, perhaps I will try them out using your guide on how to grow them! Thank you for the thorough detail!

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on April 09, 2013:

This is a very interesting process. I am not to the stage of growing much from seed, but hopefully that will change. The beauty of this plant seems like it would make it well worth all the effort. But waiting two seasons requires a lot of patience.

skye2day from Rocky Mountains on April 09, 2013:

farmer, Loved your hub dear one. Thank you for all the info. Awesome hub with fantastic step by step how to!

Beautiful pictures love pink wow stunning.

useful hub for one to start sowing a garden and reaping a harvest of hollyhocks~

interesting. Lots of tips and ideas. In reading the comments I like the idea of getting a plant a year old to start~sweet.

I had a home 10 years ago and it had a hollyhock that grew at least 6 fee. t I had no idea what I had. They are a beautiful flower in Gods creation. At harvest I had a stunning plant with robust lavender/ blue hollyhock flowers

Blessings to you farmer. Great to meet you. I j joined your rank of fans . Love your writing style. Up all the way and shared

WIth Love, Skye

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 09, 2013:

Hi Nettlemere. Thanks for the kind words. Glad you stopped by.

Thanks, Kathy! Always good to hear from you.

Appreciate it, Sheri. Thanks!

@ Suzie HQ--If you grow sweet peas, hollyhocks would be just the thing to set out, too--another sweet cottage flower. Thanks for sharing the article!

Hi Thelma! Appreciate your comments. Thank you. Have a good one! --Jill

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on April 09, 2013:

Beautiful Flowers! This is a thorough, useful and very informative hub. I love hollyhock. Thanks for sharing this information.

BTW, Congrats on the HOTD award.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on April 09, 2013:

Jill,

Well deserved HOTD! Gorgeous hub from start to finish, your Hollyhocks are simply stunning. Really inspired me to try them at my new home in the countryside and love sweet pea so keen to try that too! All the votes and pinned to my gardening!

Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on April 09, 2013:

Congrats on HOTD. Very useful and lovely photography!

Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on April 09, 2013:

Just popping in again to say congratulations on your Hub of the Day!

Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on April 09, 2013:

amazingly thorough and informative!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 09, 2013:

@ ThelmaC-- Thank you, Miss Thelma! I love hollyhocks, too. --Jill

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on April 09, 2013:

Such a beautiful, professionally done hub with such gorgeous photos. You certainly deserve the HOTD. I love hollyhocks, I guess because they bring back such wonderful memories of my grandmother’s farm. I’ve tried to grow them from seed and failed miserably. I am glad to read your tips because I never knew about soaking the seeds. I just put them out. The last time I sowed them on the ground like they had fallen naturally, and it still didn’t work. Of course, the birds may have eaten them. I did have success from plants transplanted from my aunt’s farm, and they reseeded themselves for several years. I’ve bought some plants to try again this year. I’ve just been waiting for the freezing weather to go away, and then the rain started so now I’m waiting for a dry day. Voted you up+++.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 09, 2013:

Hi Patricia! Like zinnia seeds, hollyhock seeds are really easy to germinate, so they're good ones to try, even if you're not feeling lucky. Hope you find some pretty ones to plant. Have a good one! Jill

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 09, 2013:

Hi Jill

I have not hadhuge success in grwoing plants from seeds but this sounds like something I can do

These are such gorgeous plants ---I am in town today so will look for some seeds. Thanks for sharing..I always love stopping by as I know you have great ideas and helpful hints for me to know.

Sending you many Angels this morning :) ps

Thelma Raker Coffone from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA on April 09, 2013:

Great step by step instructions and beautiful pictures. I just love hollyhocks!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 09, 2013:

Hi moonlake! You're going to have to bum some hollyhock seeds from all those folks you gave them to! You must have an ideal area for them. Appreciate your comments & votes. Thanks so much! --Jill

Hi Roberta. Dividing is definitely the easiest--or should I say it provides the quickest, most visible results. Sorry to hear about your cat. Perhaps you can dedicate your bird-friendly garden to him; it would be the ideal hunting ground. Take care, Jill

Heidi, really appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 09, 2013:

Awesom, LeTotten! Good luck to you. I'm sure your hollyhocks will do well.

Hi Stephanie! It's tough (make that impossible) to control nature, isn't it? Still, we gardeners try. I'm starting hollyhocks in a new area of the yard this year. (Wish me luck!) I really did snag lots of pink hollyhock seed last fall--more than enough to share!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 09, 2013:

Absolutely gorgeous photos! I like gardening, but don't have the time or ambition to do something like this right now. But glad to see I'll have this hub to refer to in the future. Nice job and congrats on Hub of the Day!

RTalloni on April 09, 2013:

This is so helpful, answering my question on what to do now and how to plan for the future. Learned a lot here, but am especially glad to learn about dividing hollyhocks.

Congratulations on your well-deserved Hub of the Day award and beaucoup thanks! :)

Pinning to my Gardening: Flowers and Birds. Now that our cat is no longer with us I am adding more flowers that birds love.

moonlake from America on April 09, 2013:

Great hub. I had a friend seed me some seeds and I did nothing to them just planted the seed in the garden when we put the vegetables in. They are still growing I think they're about 4 years old.

I once had the double hollyhocks and I was always giving seeds away everyone wanted seeds, pretty soon my hollyhocks didn't come up. Thanks so much for sharing this information. Voted up and congratulations on HOTD.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on April 09, 2013:

Congratulations on your Hub of the Day! Hollyhocks are some of my favorite old fashioned flowers and bring to mind my grandmother's garden and the beautiful hollyhocks that she grew. I have grown hollyhocks from seed, but mostly I've let them sow themselves, though you do lose control of what might come up next year. It would be great to gather seeds from some of the beautiful double hollyhocks that you showed in your photos! Loved your pictures! Voted up, useful and beautiful! Shared and pinned.

LeAnna Totten on April 09, 2013:

Great Hub! I am going to give this a try.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 09, 2013:

Hi Athlyn! You must have had good, rich soil in Alberta! So often people confuse biennials and annuals w/herbaceous perennials, not realizing that the plants are re-seeding themselves. Not a big deal really, I guess, so long as the plants are healthy! Good to hear from you, Jill

ComfortB, thank you! Presentation's everything, huh? Have a good one, Jill

GlimmerTwinFan--Yep, it's that time of year! I'm going to plant our hollyhocks along the fence tomorrow. Good to hear from you & thanks, Jill

Hi Giselle. Sounds like you're a green thumb! Sorry you didn't like the foliage. Sometimes it is rather ugly, but then ... hollyhocks are back-of-the-bed plants. I think there are some varieties with prettier, thinner leaves. Thanks for commenting & happy gardening! --Jill

Giselle Maine on April 09, 2013:

Great hub! I grew hollyhock from seed last year. I didn't actually know then about the water treatment you talked about, so I just put the seeds in the ground as is with a little potting mix and watered them daily. They did actually germinate, grow and flower. However, I personally didn't enjoy the look of the plant very much especially the leaves (although the flowers were stunning!). So I won't be growing them this season, but they were certainly interesting to grow. Thanks for writing a well-written and beautifully laid-out hub on how to grow these.

Claudia Mitchell on April 09, 2013:

Congrats on your HOTD! I love this hub and it's perfect timing with everything warming up.

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on April 09, 2013:

Beautiful, and very well detailed! You've done a very good job with this how-to hub. Congrats on the HOTD award.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on April 09, 2013:

Thank you, purl3agony! Appreciate it.

Rebecca, now's the time to plant 'em! Hope your hollyhocks do well this year. Have you noticed how much insects love to munch on them? But they're so big & beautiful, the damage is hardly noticeable. Take care, Jill

Toytasting, a farmhouse sounds like the perfect spot for hollyhocks. Informal places are just their style. Thanks for your kind words! All the best, Jill

Athlyn Green from West Kootenays on April 09, 2013:

I love hollyhocks. Where we used to live in Alberta, they would self-seed so each year, we were treated to a display in our back yard. Wonderfully put together hub. FB and Tweeted.

Toy Tasting from Mumbai on April 09, 2013:

The Dirt Farmer, firstly congratulation on HOTD! Truly, well deserved. I love the pictures, your plant looks beautiful. Unfortunately in India we do not have big garden spaces outside our homes. Well, but your hub has inspired me to plant a Hollyhock in my farmhouse :) Thank you!

Voted up and sharing!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on April 09, 2013:

How pretty these are. My grandmother use to grow hollyhock, I have not tried yet. This really has be itching to get ready for spring gardening. congratulations!

Donna Herron from USA on April 09, 2013:

Great hub, as always!! Congrats on your Hub of the Day!!!

M.S. Ross on March 14, 2013:

Ha! Inspiration breeds inspiration! ;)

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on March 14, 2013:

Hi Miss Mellie. It took me a year to write this hub after you mentioned in an email that I should do it. (I had to collect the seeds and the get pics.) I should really dedicated it you! Hope your hollyhocks are a success. If I were you, I'd buy a year-old plant first time, and try growing from seed later. All the best, Jill

M.S. Ross on March 14, 2013:

For years, I've wanted to plant Hollyhocks, but never got around to it. You have inspired me to get some in now! It's not a variety we see much out here where I live, so it'll be a somewhat unique accent for the front garden. Hm, might try placing some Sweet Peas in front of 'em too, as you suggest. Up, Useful, and following this hub!

Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on February 22, 2013:

Thanks for that info, Jill. Maybe I'll have to give them a try again this year!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on February 22, 2013:

Hey Glimmer Twin Fan! Hope you do enjoy growing hollyhocks. Start them inside about mid-March. It's nice to see a bit of green early! Take care, Jill

Hi SavingKathy! Rust was more of a problem with old varieties of hollyhock. These new biennial ones are fairly rust resistant. There's a similar plant, a lemon yellow A. ficifolia (Siberian hollyhock) that's more impervious to rust that A. rosea. Take it easy! --Jill

Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on February 22, 2013:

Great hub! I love hollyhocks, but I haven`t grown them for a few years as I kept having a rust problem with them that destroyed the leaves and made the plants look awful. Do you have any suggestions for avoiding rust with hollyhocks?

Claudia Mitchell on February 22, 2013:

With our mini ice storm going on right now this is a lovely break. Such beautiful photos Jill. Hollyhocks are so lovely, but it is one plant I have never tried growing. This has inspired me. Great hub!