Growing Hollyhocks: Fairly Pollinator Companions


Growing hollyhocks will be one of the vital beautiful and rewarding acts of gardening you are able to do. There is nothing like hollyhock flowers on the peak of their development. Their vibrant blooms are good as a basic cottage backyard staple. They entice hummingbirds and are an incredible addition to any backyard. 

Most individuals love hollyhocks for his or her capacity to herald hosts of pollinators, and their selection in colour. They’re versatile of their capacity to persist in various quantities of solar and shade. Their blooms can final till early winter, and their perennial nature helps them return in spring. 

Hollyhocks develop in a variety of climates too. With their versatility in thoughts, possibly you’d prefer to develop your individual backyard of attractive flowers, together with hollyhocks. What is required for rising them, you ask? Let’s cowl the fundamentals so you’ll be able to plant hollyhock seeds in spring. 

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Quick Care Guide

Growing hollyhocks to entice in pollinators is fantastic. Source: jimforest
Common Name Hollyhock, frequent hollyhock
Scientific Name Alcea spp.
Family Malvaceae, or the mallow household
Height & Spread Up to eight toes tall and 5 inches broad
Light Full solar
Soil Moist, wealthy, well-draining
Water 1 inch per week
Pests & Diseases Rust, powdery mildew, spider mites, slugs, Japanese beetles

All About Hollyhocks

Cluster of flower buds
Hollyhock buds type in clusters as seen right here. Source: Crowcombe Al

Hollyhocks are manifold of their genus (Alcea), however the most typical species of hollyhocks grown in North America are these of the Alcea rosea or frequent hollyhock. With over 80 species, gardeners are certain to search out a minimum of one hollyhock that works for them. Hollyhocks originated in China and made their manner into the Middle East, after which to Europe by way of English troopers throughout the Crusades. Crusaders used hollyhocks to make a salve that was utilized to the hocks of horses injured in battle. 

Hollyhocks develop on the edges of tall stalks that attain wherever from 5 to 9 toes tall. Their base is roofed in about 5 to 12 inches of heart-shaped leaves that turn out to be smaller as they develop up from the central stem. Their flowers type and bloom in mid to late summer time after their second 12 months of development, however some bloom by means of fall, into the primary a part of winter. Hollyhock flowers sit atop the stem of the plant, reaching as much as 3 inches broad. The flower is cup-shaped and is available in a variety of colours. 

After the hollyhock blooms and dies away on the finish of the rising season, the petals fall and flat black seed heads type. As the pods dry, they pop open and unfold their disc-like seeds on the soil floor beneath. Because hollyhocks readily self-seed and dwell for only a few years they’re thought of a young or short-lived perennial. As hollyhock seedlings emerge, their plant roots prolong properly beneath the floor. Like different members of the mallow household, hollyhocks have lengthy taproots that go deep into the earth. 

Hollyhock crops are generally grown in cottage gardens to frame the again of a backyard mattress. People additionally develop hollyhocks to draw hummingbirds, wasps, bees, butterflies, and beetles that help in pollination. That’s why they’re an incredible flower to develop alongside a vegetable backyard. Growing hollyhock flowers additionally means you’ll have a supply for drugs. 

Just as crusaders handled their horses with the flowers, growers would possibly deal with topical pores and skin abrasions with them. The flower can be made into a beautiful medicinal tea that’s reputed to deal with the respiratory and digestive tracts. The flower stalks are an incredible addition to a summer time flower bouquet too. 

Planting Hollyhocks

If you’re questioning when to plant hollyhock seeds, look no additional! Since hollyhock crops are summer time bloomers, begin seeds one week earlier than the final frost date. Plant hollyhocks in an space with ample solar, and fertile, well-drained soil. They will even develop simply in containers which might be deep sufficient. When you develop hollyhocks, keep in mind that you’re rising a plant with a protracted taproot. Whiskey barrels are the steered container of alternative for them. 

Rake the backyard mattress the place you’d prefer to sow hollyhock seeds. Spread them thinly and evenly, making an attempt to not overcrowd the mattress with them. Then rake them in, and add soil if wanted to make sure they’re ¼ inch lined. You can even plant hollyhocks from seed indoors and transplant them outdoor in your cottage backyard. If you do that, be sure to have a develop mild to present them enough daylight, and potting combine. After about 9 weeks of development, they’ll be able to plant outdoor. 


Hollyhock flower
Each hollyhock flower is a vibrant spot amidst the greenery. Source: Deanster1983

Once you’ve planted seed or transplants it’s simple to develop hollyhocks. Even although this information talks about their optimum situations, hollyhocks can take a variety of soil, temperature, and water content material. 

Sun and Temperature

Hollyhock prefers full solar, at about 6 hours per day. Partial shade can be enough. Hard afternoon solar in a scorching local weather generally is a little too harsh for flower manufacturing, so attempt to present extra shade in these areas whereas protecting with the six-hour minimal. The USDA rising zones for hollyhock vary from zone 2 to 10. These short-lived perennials love temperatures between 60 and 90 levels. 

They don’t require chilly hours however do finest when nighttime soil temperatures keep between 60 and 65 levels of their blooming season. Hollyhock crops are delicate to frost harm and ought to be protected with a beneficiant layer of mulch in winter or a spring freeze. Too a lot warmth will cease blooming and forestall seed heads from forming. You can cowl your hollyhocks in early spring and winter, however they’ll die away and are available again on their very own. 

Water and Humidity

Water hollyhock crops within the morning on the base of the plant slightly than above. Their leaves are inclined to powdery mildew and rust, so irrigate on the base of the plant to keep away from diseased leaves. There are some sorts of hollyhock which might be inclined crops and a few which might be rust-resistant, although. In hotter seasons water each day. 

In extra temperate seasons, water a number of instances per week. Because of their delicate leaves, hollyhocks do finest with soaker hoses or drip irrigation. Avoid watering when there was ample rain. Although hollyhock isn’t drought tolerant, it could actually deal with considerably dry soil every so often.  


Most crops within the mallow household are tolerant of several types of backyard soil. Optimal soil situations for hollyhock embrace well-draining, fertile backyard soil. Somewhat little bit of clay is simply tremendous too. Poor high quality soil is okay, however a small layer of compost on prime of the planting space will assist these crops bloom attractive flowers. Starter crops particularly want wealthy soil or starter combine. The finest pH vary for hollyhocks is between 6.0 and eight.0.


Hollyhock leaves
Hollyhock leaves have a recognizable form and curvature. Source: John and Anni

Hollyhocks take pleasure in a fertilizer two instances yearly in temperate seasons. Well-balanced pellet or liquid soil-soak fertilizers are nice. Find a fertilizer in your native backyard heart with an N-P-Okay of 10-10-10 or 15-15-15. Do not apply foliar fertilizer, as this promotes rust illness. Infected crops can unfold illness to different inclined crops, so keep away from this if in any respect doable. 


One of the best issues about hollyhocks is that they bloom a number of instances in a season if they’re handled correctly. Deadheading hollyhocks is the important thing to a number of blooms. After the hollyhocks bloom, snip off the spent bloom with sharp and clear hand pruners. You can even pinch them off along with your fingers. Then permit the seed head to fall and self-sow within the subsequent rising season, or save seeds you collected this fashion for later. 

When you deadhead hollyhocks there are plenty of choices for seed saving and planting seeds (complete pods, separate seeds, and spreading seeds instantly within the backyard beds). When the father or mother plant turns brown within the fall, use your shears to chop it all the way down to the bottom. You can even depart a number of stalks for overwintering bees and beetles to nest in. 


The solely mode of propagating hollyhocks is by way of their seeds from seed pods. You can accumulate the seeds all through their season, and unfold them in your backyard one week earlier than the final frost in spring. You might additionally plant the seeds in starter pots stuffed with wealthy soil, positioned in full solar. 

Starting hollyhocks is fairly simple in comparison with different crops. After they’ve sprouted, place them in full solar outdoor 2 to three weeks after the final frost to harden them off for a number of weeks. Then transplant them within the backyard amongst different crops with flowers in a gap that’s twice as broad as the basis ball, and simply barely deeper. They ought to be established inside per week or so. 


Hollyhocks growing up fence
While not obligatory, some help might help the hollyhocks to thrive. Source: roseypenguin

When you develop hollyhocks, you’ll see they aren’t too fussy. They are host crops for pollinators, however they’re additionally a number to fungal illnesses and bugs. Let’s run these down!

Growing Problems

When you develop hollyhocks, protect them from intense winds. Tall crops like hollyhock can snap in half in excessive winds. Though they don’t require stakes, it could be value planting hollyhock – which may attain as much as 9 toes tall – in an space backed by a storage or fence. The identical goes for intense rain. 5 to 9 toes tall hollyhocks are delicate to rain and hail. 

When you develop hollyhocks in an space with poor drainage, they could be extra inclined to mildew. The identical challenge happens after they develop too near different crops. Hollyhock wants good air circulation to bloom and produce seed. Full solar is required to forestall bacterial development on the leaves in wet seasons too.  


Spider mites are bugs that like to feed on the sap of the hollyhock plant and spin tight, dense webs in late levels. They trigger stippling on leaves and finally leaf drop. They usually take pleasure in dry scorching climate, so search for them in hotter seasons. To deal with them, first use a robust stream of water from a hose to knock them off the plant. Once the plant dries off, apply neem oil to all surfaces of the plant to forestall reinfestation.

Japanese beetles feed on the leaves of hollyhock. When you develop hollyhock, you’ll wish to search for indicators of them particularly when hollyhock flowers are blooming. This is the height of the beetle life cycle. Take a while to handpick beetles from the plant and flowers earlier than they’ve had time to do harm. Applying useful nematodes (notably Heterorhabditis bacteriophora) to the soil can cut back the inhabitants of beetle grubs overwintering, too.

Slugs are one other pest that likes to feed on the plant matter of many hollyhocks. You’ll know they’ve been in your backyard in a single day whenever you see their slimy trails across the 5 toes tall spikes. Control them with diatomaceous earth sprinkled within the space the place you develop hollyhock. An natural slug and snail bait can be extremely efficient.


When you develop hollyhocks you could have to cope with powdery mildew and hollyhock rust. Each is a fungal illness that begins from overly moist and heat situations.

Powdery mildew will be managed by avoiding wetting foliage throughout watering. You can even take away mildewed leaves as they’re broken. This sort of mildew doesn’t usually get to a degree the place a complete plant must be eliminated, however in shut proximity to different crops, the mould can unfold. Neem oil or copper fungicide can cut back the chance of spreading

Particularly in hollyhock rust, fungal spores unfold inflicting a comparatively uniform dot formation on hollyhocks. You can keep away from this altogether by planting rust-resistant seeds and crops. Some types of rust will be handled by eradicating contaminated materials and spraying the remainder of the plant with both sulfur fungicide or copper fungicide.

Unfortunately, probably the most generally offered hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) usually are not proof against rust. So if you must work with Alcea rosea in your backyard, preserve the realm clear and clear of weeds. Cut down the plant on the finish of the season. In fungal infestations, deal with Alcea rosea with fungicide utilized in spray type each 7 to 10 days. If that doesn’t work, take away the complete plant and get rid of it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hollyhock buds
Hollyhock buds peek out from above the leaves. Source: ms.Tea

Q: Do hollyhocks come again yearly?

A: Most are tender perennials and return yearly, however there are a number of varieties which might be annuals and dwell just one 12 months. 

Q: Where is the most effective place to plant hollyhocks?

A: Plant them in a full solar location with wealthy, well-draining soil. 

Q: How lengthy does it take for hollyhocks to develop?

A: They are biennial and don’t bloom till their second 12 months. Seedlings are able to transplant in 9 weeks. The total lifecycle of a perennial selection is a minimum of a number of years, and doubtlessly many extra when you deadhead it!

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