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Quick Guide to Collecting & Storing Hollyhock Seeds

Updated on July 21, 2016
The Dirt Farmer profile image

Jill volunteers at community gardens & learns about gardening through the MD Native Plant Society & MD Master Gardening Program.

SAVING HOLLYHOCK SEEDS

Store hollyhock seeds in a sealable container in the refrigerator or freezer to promote viability.
Store hollyhock seeds in a sealable container in the refrigerator or freezer to promote viability. | Source

It's as easy as 1-2-3!

Saving hollyhock seed is super easy. In fact, because the seed pods and the seeds themselves are large and easy to handle, saving hollyhock seed is a fun project for children as well as adults.

"The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies."

—Gertrude Jekyll, British horticulturalist, landscape architect & advocate of the "natural" garden

Saving the seed can be done in three easy steps.

1. Harvest hollyhock seed from seed pods.

2. Clean & dry the seed.

3. Package the hollyhock seed for storage.


And you don't need any special equipment, just ordinary household items: paper bags, paper towels and envelopes and/or empty glass jars.

HOLLYHOCK SEED PODS

They're soft & fuzzy!
They're soft & fuzzy! | Source
As hollyhock flowers die, they devolve into brown seedpods.
As hollyhock flowers die, they devolve into brown seedpods. | Source

Harvesting hollyhock seed

At the end of the growing season (late summer or early fall), rather than
picking the flowers on your hollyhocks, allow them to "go to seed" on the
stalks.

When hollyhock flowers go to seed, they shrivel and turn brown. Eventually, the petals fall to the ground, leaving large, fuzzy, brown pods behind. These pods are seed pods, and they contain hollyhock seeds.

When they've dried to a medium brown on the stalk, it's time to harvest them.

To harvest hollyhock seeds, simply snap the hollyhock seed pods off the stalks with your fingers, dropping them into a brown paper bag. (If you want to sow them instead of save them, autumn is also the ideal time for that. Simply scatter the seeds onto rich, fertile soil in a sunny spot in your garden, one that's appropriate for tall flowers like hollyhocks, and cover them lightly with soil.)

Keep the hollyhock seed pods in the paper bag until you're ready to begin the cleaning and drying process, which is the next step in saving hollyhock seeds.

HOLLYHOCK SEEDS

Hollyhock seeds are large & flat. They often stick together in the pod & should be separated to facilitate drying.
Hollyhock seeds are large & flat. They often stick together in the pod & should be separated to facilitate drying. | Source
Pull open dried seed pods to release the hollyhock seeds.
Pull open dried seed pods to release the hollyhock seeds. | Source
Once released from their dried pods, the hollyhock seeds must be separated & the chaff removed before drying.
Once released from their dried pods, the hollyhock seeds must be separated & the chaff removed before drying. | Source

Cleaning & drying the seed

To prepare harvested hollyhock seed for storage, crack open the seed pods, separating the seeds and discarding the pod.

Hollyhock seeds are rather large and flat. Inside the pod, they tend to stick together, and you'll probably have to separate them from each other using your fingernails. With tweezers (or your fingers--the pieces will be quite large) remove any debris or chaff.

Once you start handling the seeds, you'll realize that, despite the brown and shriveled appearance of the pods, the seeds aren't really dry. They still contain moisture and must be allowed to dry more before storage.

To remove the excess moisture, place the hollyhock seeds on paper towels, wax paper or old window screens and allow them to air dry for about a week. Don't leave them much longer, as they'll begin to absorb moisture instead of lose it, something you definitely don't want.

Hollyhocks in Bloom @ Hollyhock Garden

CONTAINERS FOR HOLLYHOCK SEED

Place seeds in individual packets, if you like, before storing them in an airtight container.
Place seeds in individual packets, if you like, before storing them in an airtight container. | Source
My glass pickle jar of seed packets, which I store in the refrigerator.
My glass pickle jar of seed packets, which I store in the refrigerator. | Source

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Storing hollyhock seed

If dried thoroughly and stored properly, hollyhock seeds will remain viable for a long time--about nine years!

If storing more than one type of seed, place them in labeled envelopes and then put the envelopes in a sealable glass container, such as a Mason jar.

If storing only one type of seed, simply place it directly in a small glass container, i.e. an old spice jar. Again, be sure to label the container, writing the seed name and the date stored on the outside.

Although many gardeners successfully store seed in film canisters and plastic tubs, some evidence suggests that the gases emitted by plastics may adversely affect germination rates.

Once it's packaged and labeled, store the hollyhock seed in the refrigerator or the freezer until you're ready to sow it. (Seed stored in the freezer will last longer--if it's been properly dried beforehand.)

Here's the double pink hollyhock plant featured in this hub.
Here's the double pink hollyhock plant featured in this hub. | Source
Source

About the Author

The Dirt Farmer has been an active gardener for over 30 years.

She first began gardening as a child alongside her grandfather on her parents' farm.

Today, The Dirt Farmer gardens at home, volunteers at community gardens and continues to learn about gardening through the MD Master Gardener program.

© 2013 Jill Spencer

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    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
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      Jill Spencer 4 months ago from United States

      Dolores, I've no idea why I didn't respond to your comment previously. Sorry I missed it! I hope your seeds did well. I planted a few single petal variety seeds from a gardening friend last spring and some nice mounds of squash-like plants this year. I'm interested to see what color flowers they will produce next summer. Best, Jill

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 22 months ago from East Coast, United States

      I love hollyhocks but have never had much success with them. They don't come back the next year. I love to get seeds from friends. Many of the plants in my garden are from friends or relatives. I am going to try to raise my own from seeds next year, see how it goes. (voted up and shared)

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 3 years ago from United States

      Hi Alan. Nice to hear from you! I don't think the hollyhock is related to the sunflower, although with their tall presence in the garden they are reminiscent of them. Hollyhocks are part of the Mallow family, while sunflowers are in the same family as daisies and asters. I found some cool hollyhock seeds this summer at a fair--the outhouse collection (lol)--and am going to try them this spring. Wish me luck@! Thanks for commenting on this hub. All the best, Jill

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hollyhocks are an old standby in English gardens, north and south. We had them alongside our garden path when I lived on Teesside (at that time the North Riding). I think they reminded Dad of where he lived in the country. A few of his aunts' farms had them growing at the front.

      Are they related to the sunflower? There's something of the primeval in them, I think.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 3 years ago from United States

      I sure will stop by. Your story concept interests me greatly! I've been to Historic St. Mary's City many times. --Jill

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I grew up on an Iowa farm loving hollyhocks! Small world! Currently, I'm writing a family saga set of hubs based in Colonial Maryland where one of my ancestral lines began... hope you can stop by and visit. ;-)

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 3 years ago from United States

      This year our hollyhocks are only about three feet tall. Don't know why, but ... I probably won't collect seeds from this year's batch! Thanks for commenting, W1totalk!

    • W1totalk profile image

      W1totalk 3 years ago

      Great article. Simple way to harvest Holly hocks.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      Yep, it time to plant, Jackie! I need to get out there, too. Nice to hear from you! -Jill

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Glad I ran across this, it reminds me I need to be finding mine and getting them in the ground! I love them! Thanks for the storage info, too!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      Wow, Deb! You were lucky, girl! I usually get weeds. Have a good weekend!--J

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hollyhocks are such beautiful flowers. A friend gave me a rosebush once, and lo and behold, within it was a lovely hollyhock. What a bonus!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image
      Author

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      I like them to, faythef. They're fun to grow--even though it seems like just about every insect in the world thinks they're delicious. Still, the damage never seems all that noticeable, I guess because the plants tend to be so big. Thanks for commenting! --Jill

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe F. 4 years ago from USA

      Good information....I will be putting to good use this year..Hollyhocks is one of my favorite flowers...voting up and sharing.

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