Hollyhocks 'help from the experts, please'

Deanna - 3February 14, 1999

Hello everyone,

I am moving to a new house and have a bag full of Hollyhock seeds. Now.........I need to learn....

When should I plant them?

Start indoors or outside?

full or half sun?

any and all comments appreciated...



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Judy2 - 6-7

Hi - it's probably a little soon in your part of the country to start them outdoors but you can sure start them inside and transplant them later. Generally they like full but not baking sun and will tolerate a little shade. Good luck. Judy

    Bookmark   February 20, 1999 at 11:36PM
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Michelle - 7

I just started my Hollyhocks inside yesterday for transplanting outside mid March here. Just wait till the danger of frost is past to plant outside. I have found in the past that since they grow so big the usual "growing kit" type trays aren't big enough for them so I start mine in peat pots. Just be sure they get enough sun and stay warm and they'll be fine. Outside mine get full sun and lots of water. I plant mine near a fence and use fishing line to tie them to the fence for support when they get mature. Good Luck, Michelle

    Bookmark   February 27, 1999 at 12:47AM
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Nora Z5 IL

Hope I'm not too late with this, but I've always planted mine outside in late summer -- August or so. They grow enough to get a good start, and then bloom the next summer. If you plant them inside in the spring, will they bloom this year?

    Bookmark   March 9, 1999 at 9:56PM
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jim king

This is to Nora Z5
some varietys will bloom same year planted , you can get the seeds at a walmart, i dont have much of a growing season here, but i got some that tried before they got nipped.
You can plant hollyhocks anytime of the year,i plant mine in the fall and the sprout in the spring time when they are ready too. ive also planted mine in the spring too
they seem to grow whenever
Hope this helps


    Bookmark   March 9, 1999 at 11:49PM
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Cammie Noel

I planted single hollyhocks biemmials in a 6 pack a whloe flat of "Ficifolia" and Charter's White"It says they are single flowers, I hope so!Will they bloom this year? I live near Pasadena,CA thanks

    Bookmark   April 1, 1999 at 8:47PM
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janice - 9

My hollyhocks suddenly got splochy yellowish leaves, which look very unhealthy. Is this a fungus or lack of fertilizing or what? It hasn't affected the blooms, but the leaves are not at all attractive. Any ideaa about what is wrong?

    Bookmark   May 3, 1999 at 10:19PM
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Jenra - 9


I don't know anything about the Ficifolia's but double check the others. Is it Charter's or Chater's?

If it's Chaters, they're full doubles. I'm guessing that you're a Zone 9, like me, so most likely they will bloom this year. In our climates and if seeded early enough, most Hollyhocks will flower the first year. However, there are some that are true biennials and no matter how early you seed them they won't flower until the following season.


    Bookmark   May 3, 1999 at 11:52PM
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Dot - 5 or 6

Hollyhocks will bloom the first year if planted by starts. Most seed varieties will wait for second year. Spots on leaves is usually rust. ( a fungus) and can be treated with a fungicide. (copper sulfate) Nice talking with you! Dot

    Bookmark   May 4, 1999 at 12:10AM
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Jan - 9

I live in zone 9 and planted my hollyhocks 2 years ago from a seed mat bought at walmart. I cut it in several pieces and placed the pat pieces along a fence line. I believe it was in March or April. This year they are at least 10 to 12 feet tall.

    Bookmark   May 17, 1999 at 1:08PM
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Kathy in KS - Zone 5

If anyone is still reading this - I planted my hollyhocks from seed last year. They are already up about 2 1/2', and no doubt they will bloom this season. My question is, since they are bi-annuals - will they die at the end of this season, or will they just come up again next Spring and not bloom until 2001??? Thanks! Kathy in Kansas

    Bookmark   May 18, 1999 at 7:33PM
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dicken - 5 - SW mi

kathy- the soon-to-bloom biennials will die at the conclusion of this years growth.. the seeds they set this summer can be re-planted immediately to produce starts for winter dormancy and bloom next year.


    Bookmark   May 20, 1999 at 3:55PM
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JeanniePhoenix - USDA9/SS 13

I seem to have a mix from 6 seeds I planted two years ago. Last year, a beautiful purple single bloomed at max ht of 4'. THIS year, there are full whites, single pinks, full purple, etc and the crazy things are flirting with the neighbors sunflowers! I'm not even sure I ever saw a hollyhock before but these have been the best seed investment I've made. Temps are in mid 90's, they're planted in morning sun and only receive soaker watering 2ce weekly. Hubby refers to them as the cauliflower plant and is quite taken with them...Keep in mind, I grow roses but with his engineer mind-set, he only noticed one.

    Bookmark   May 22, 1999 at 2:47AM
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Kathy in KS - Zone 5

Dicken - Thanks for your wisdom...but, how sad! Those huge green leaves are making SUCH a pretty backdrop for my other flowers and statuary in my Victorian Garden...S-I-G-H! I'll do as you say though, and replant the seeds as soon as the blooms get to that point. Guess I will need to plant seeds next Fall too, so that I will have some Hollyhocks in bloom for the next 2 years, huh? Well, better get off now, I see lightning out the windows in the distance. We have really been having a monsoon season here! Kathy in (tropical!!) Kansas

    Bookmark   May 22, 1999 at 10:40PM
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Helen - 5

In the fall, I take all the seeds and spread them along my fence line - lightly cover with soil and in the spring they are all back!! I have ALWAYS had them bloom the first year - not sure why. Hollyhocks are one of my favorite old flowers. Reminds me of days gone by.

    Bookmark   May 27, 1999 at 8:23AM
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Donna(Z5 IL)

I'd like to know how to make the old fashioned "Hollyhock Dolls". Can you tell me how? Thanks

    Bookmark   August 6, 1999 at 9:15AM
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Donna(Z5 IL)

Does anyone remember how to make hollyhock dolls?

    Bookmark   August 7, 1999 at 9:43PM
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Rhonda Grove - 5

When I was a little girl my grandmother and I made hollyhock dolls all of the time. The way that we made them was to take two hollyhock blooms. One fully open and one bud(for the hat. Take the full bloom and attach it to the bud with a 1/2 toothpick inserted through the ends.(Green parts together) We then used two toothpicks in the open bud for the legs. At the top of the open bud we stuck in 1/2 toothpicks for arms. A simple thing but it made a memory that will last a lifetime. Any time anyone speaks of their grandmothers garden this is what I think of. :) Rhonda

    Bookmark   August 16, 1999 at 3:21PM
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Anne - NC

Okay, now I'm drooling over everybody elses beautiful Hollyhocks. I planted hollyhocks from plants last spring. They flowered and died. I replanted the seeds thinking I would have flowers this year and I have about a dozen pitiful little things that are about twelve inches tall. No blooms. My mother says do not feed them and others say they love manure. I'm obviously doing something wrong. I have lots of seeds I have traded and I hate to waste them. What's the secret? Sun, shade? Fertilize or no?

    Bookmark   August 26, 1999 at 5:04PM
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kathleen williams - 7a

I can not give any help on Hollyhocks,I thought I'd let you know that a friend gave me three plants 3 years ago,they were two years old before they bloomed,they were me first so I did not know anything about them,I happen to plant them on the East side of the house,one is almost as tall as the house,it has deep wine colored blooms the other one has lite pink,almost white,the last one has not bloomed yet,what's wrong with it?I only put Miracle Grow around them/water them every day,there is enough seeds on the two that's blooming to plant at least an acre/I think.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dropseat Jumpsuits

    Bookmark   July 4, 2000 at 11:04PM
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I'm wondering when hollyhock seeds can be harvested. Do i have to wait for stalks and seed pods to fully dry? Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2000 at 10:31PM
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Linda - KC. Mo.

I planted hollyhocks last summer. One grew and bloomed and came up again this year and bloomed again. Another plant came up on its own this year and is blooming. The last few days they are very wilted looking and the leaves are yellowing. Some have big holes in them like they are being eaten but I can find no bugs on them. The temps have been in the lower 100's so I've been watering them often. Do they need furtilizer? Or is it just the heat? Woul be grateful for any help I can get. Thanks Linda of Kansas City.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2000 at 6:49PM
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I have some seeds someone gave me and want to begin those indoors now (March in Pennsylvania). Anything special I should know?

Thanks for any help you can give.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2001 at 5:25PM
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melanie_sc 8

I've read that if you cut the flower stalk back after the blooms die, it will bloom again the next year. This same source said to burn the remains(the flower stalk). Maybe it is poisonous?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2001 at 2:40AM
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Julie 5 (southcentral Wisc

I replanted some hollyhocks out in my garden yesterday;today they look very sick and wilted? Normal? I gave them a great big drink of water, will this help??

    Bookmark   June 26, 2001 at 12:49AM
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I had replanted a hollyhock too, and it drooped. After a couple of days I cut it off. Then a new sprout came out but it died too, not enough water. This is the first time I am growing hollyhocks and don't know anything about them.
My 2 questions are: what do I do after they gave finished blooming? Cut them off or let them dry, will they come back next year? Do I have to collect seeds and how do I do that? Also, why are the leaves so black on my hollyhocks? Any help is welcome. Dagmar in S.C. California

    Bookmark   July 13, 2001 at 12:16AM
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Lois Z-8, No. Calif.

I am just getting ready to plant my Hollyhock pony pack..and I find this column very informative. I hope more of you who are successful..and know some of the answers to dzauels questions will respond.
I DO know (from recent experience) that when you plant OR re-plant, you need to SHADE the plants or the summer heat will fry them. Little sprouts especially are vulnerable. The watering is good..but, couple it with shade. Anything placed in front of the noon-afternoon sun heat (a box,etc.) will shade the plant. Cover from above too if it is possible.
After a week it will have it's 'feet' down..and will feel at home in your garden. It won't need to be shaded then, just watered often..like every other day well.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2001 at 5:30PM
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UNDESIDED(Arizona- - z7)

I live in Arizona at about 6000'. I am new to the gardening field, and don't know much about it. I have some hollyhocks on the south side of my house and would like to plant some from the seeds on the north side. This side of the house is in the shade most of the day, gets about 4-5 hours of sun a day. Will this be a problem? When should I plant these seeds.

Thank you for all of your help..

    Bookmark   July 31, 2001 at 2:51PM
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Julie_B z5 WI

I planted some hollyhock seeds in those black cell packs, they have really grown. Should I transplant them in my garden in fall or when???? Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2001 at 8:44PM
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I have hollyhocks growing . I remember the first year they were very short but filled out, The next year they grew over 6 foot. And have come back every year. I have moved them to a different area. But they still keep coming back .
By the way mine are black and they are beautiful.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2001 at 5:55PM
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I live in Southern Ct. When can I expect my Hollyhocks to bloom? I bought and planted then last year and they grew to about five feet but no bloom. They are growing fast now but I dont see any flower stems. When doI harvest seeds and will any of them reseed by dropping on the ground? Thanks

    Bookmark   May 21, 2002 at 12:36PM
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My little girl's homework assignment was to measure the tallest flower she could find. How about a 9ft.2inch hollyhock!! This is the tallest they've ever gotten for me and it just keeps growing and growing!
I started mine from nursery 6 pks planted 4 years ago in the fall. They grew, flowered, then I left the dead heads on as long as I could stand it (they get ugly). After I cut them I layed them on the ground under the other plants and voila! New hollyhock seedlings the following spring! They need full sun, and if you do direct sow seeds into the garden, don't bury them far down, they need light to germinate. As for the sickly ones, it's probably rust, which they are a magnet for. Spray as they grow with a neem oil product. As far as food goes, mine are mixed in with my roses, which get fed a lot. I think they like it! Hope I've helped!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2002 at 1:05PM
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peachiekean(z10A CA)

I bought 2 hollyhocks in square pots last year. They sure looked like squash. Well, this year I moved them to a new border, figuring they would like more sun than in the first location. They really look like squash now and have no sign of flowers or stocks yet. I am continuing to watch them each day - they are lush but when will they form a stock? (When I moved them in March, they had very strong roots which tells me they cannot be squash.) Anyone have this experience?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2002 at 1:22PM
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sslosr(z7 NoVA)

Last year was my first with hollyhocks(from seed).
I had heard they wouldn't bloom but they did. I started them in the 3rd week of May.By August they were over 7 ft tall and bloomed very well.

Peachiekean- last year my hollyhocks grew straight up and were thin. When they died back briefly, they returned bushier and fuller-they do remind you of a zucchini plant. Mine are about 1.5ft across now. I really want to see how it looks when it blooms.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2002 at 3:15PM
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peachiekean(z10A CA)

Mine are about 3-4 feet across and the leaves are the size of salad plates (just a bit smaller than a dinner plate). They grow and grow but just not up. I have to keep trimming off leaves because they are crowding everything else so much I worry about air circulation (living at the beach means mildew) I guess they will flower eventually but I'm impatient! I've had them for over a year now.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2002 at 2:45PM
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this is the third summer for my hollyhocks. They did nothing for two years, and this year they took off! They are gorgeous. the last few days the flowers have started to look bad. when I pulled a flower off, it was filled inside with little black bugs. What can they be and how do I treat them? I don't want to lose my hollyhocks! They are magnificent in front of my picture window! Help!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2002 at 7:15PM
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peachiekean(z10A CA)

After cutting back the large side leaves a few days ago, today I notice each of my 2 plants have 4 thick stocks emerging. I guess this is good? Still makes me think squash... But I am hopeful. Will take some digital photos on Saturday and post them.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2002 at 12:00PM
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I am new to this form, and actually new to gardening. I was given seeds for Hollyhocks and planted them in the way I was told, nothing came up for two years, I planted again last year,and only got some something that looks like a squash plant. I noticed in this thread, that this may be the Hollyhocks. Is this true? Are there any pictures of little plants so I can see if it looks the same as I have?
Thank you for all your help, I really enjoy reading all the tips and information you folks give out so kindly.
Take care Cause I care

    Bookmark   August 6, 2002 at 11:32AM
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I too have not had luck with Hollyhocks.

I had a great first year from seeds (so great I have tried stubbornly to duplicate it) but then all ensuing years have produced nothing but stunted plants with yellow leaves and buds that are kind of moldy looking that also sometimes have some kind of mite like creature and hardly bloom - I have assumed that it was some kind of fungal condition so this year I transplanted last year's seedlings out in the alley where they would get more air and not be as contained as they are in my small fenced yard. Same thing.

Should I start again with new seeds - is it genetic or just this environment? (humid summers and 6 hours of afternoon sun?)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 7:25PM
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Freakmandu(Herts, England)

Hollyhocks grow like weeds in my garden.. i have dozens of them, all self-propogated. Good job I love hollyhocks really :D

    Bookmark   August 26, 2003 at 7:13AM
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Hollyhocks will reseed themselves everywhere. Fortunately, they are easy to pull out.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2003 at 6:05PM
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I was looking to order some hollyhocks from seed from Swallowtail gardens and wanted to get Creme de cassis. However, they don't have that one. They have "black currant swirl" but it's description, without pic, sounds the same. Is it?

Also, how do hollyhocks do in wet oregon weather?


    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 5:38AM
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I have enjoyed hollyhocks since the middle of June however I did not know about dead heading. The seed pods have formed and some look dry and viable. If I cut the seed pods now will I get re blooming or is it too late to do this? I do not want to cut off the immature seed heads if I will not get re blooming. If I cut the immature seed heads(they are white inside) can I dry them and will I have viable seeds from them? It is mid July and I would love to see some re blooming but the seed pods are in the thousands and I'm worried about my crop for next year if I try to dead head now. This crop took two years to mature and bloom.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 11:19AM
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