Hollyhocks

Litchfield Park , AZ(Zone 9b)

I recently purchased some Hollyhock plants from Annie's Annuals & Perennials. This variety is suppose to be for hot & dry climates, but I am not sure if I should plant them now. They are currently under lights with my orchids but are getting pretty big, probably about 16" high. .

I have had so many plants burn up and turn crispy I am getting nervous about planing anything, but if you want specific varieties you sometimes have to buy now when available. If I do plant now, any suggestions on full sun, part sun, etc. Should I cover them with shade cloth?
Thanks
Dee

Gilbert, AZ

Hollyhocks are the happiest flower! Hold off putting your hollyhocks in the ground until October. Generally speaking, you can sow hollyhock seeds in October and November to come up in the spring but it sounds like you've got a jump start. As compared to other climates (read cold winter, less intense summer), hollyhocks are in their prime here from March until May. Then the stalks die back and you get little bushes that sit and sulk through the summer until the temps cool off in the fall. They need afternoon shade and can't take reflected heat of any kind. You're right - if you plant them now then they'll get crispy. Their broad, soft leaves lose too much moisture from transpiration in our hot summers to make it until they have a really good root system established.

Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9b)

Do hollyhocks bloom the second year they are in the ground and not the first? Mine had leaves the first year, but no flowers. They are coming back nicely now that the heat is gone.

Gilbert, AZ

Yes, Nancy, it takes the hollyhock plants about a year to get established and have the energy to bloom if they're planted from seed. I don't know about hollyhocks you can get in pots - I could see how they might bloom the first year because they already have a bit of a root system developed. They make a nice border plant during the winter months until the bloom stalk emerges in the spring!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Crista is right. Hollyhocks are biennial plants, so if planted from seeds it takes two years to bloom. Since you bought it from Annie's , they've done the seeding for you and therefore they should bloom next spring.
Make sure to collect the seeds and you should have them around your yard for years to come.

Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks Crista and RODICAP for the info! I can't wait for the blooms! I have never grown them before.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

There are some of my most cherished plants since they remind me of my grandmother's cottage garden.

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