Perennials: Hollyhocks

New Iberia, LA(Zone 9a)

I am not sure which to post hollyhock on this one or under Annual. I would like to ask you about Hollyhock. I never grow them before but I would like to try. Which is the best to start the seeds in ground or in pots? They are beautiful and have seen few around here.. I would like to add it to my garden..

Villa Rica, GA(Zone 7a)

HollyHocks are considered Biennial(blooms the 2nd year after planting seed) for my zone. I would think that they are the same for your zone also. But couldn't be for sure.
I would start them from seed directly sown in your beds. I even have them to pop up in the grass! because they are good self seeders.
I have a couple of extra plants that should bloom this year if you want to make a trade? or I will gladly do it for postage. O by the way mine are a deep rosey pink color.
Let me know!!

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

I started mine from seed inside a few years ago and they return now every year. Some are the singles and some are double. You just have to be careful when harvesting the seed as they do have some type of weevil bug which burrows through the seed leaving a tiny pinhole and those seeds are no good. I have harvested thousands of seeds and only gotten a handful that were not ruined.

Jesteburg-Wiedenhof, Germany(Zone 8a)

I have always planted the seeds indoors to give them a start, and then planted out in May. The plants are bi-annual, but if you are lucky, like I was, then you may get some in the first year. I have given away most of my older plants to my MIL, and I'm starting anew, with seeds which I harvested from my old 'hocks.
The thing about the seed harvest was that they had almost all become white after a year of excellent colour, but they looked great as well. I don't know if that means that they have gone back to their original colour through having lost the hybrid..... some of the more experienced will be able to tell me that.

All the best


Lewisville, TX

Mollybee - I would love some if you have any extra!! If you do, email me!

(Zone 6a)

Hollyhocks grow like weeds. I usually don't even bother with starting them indoors. I just throw them down and forget about it. They never fail to produce several good plants.

Troy, VA(Zone 7a)

One of my all time favourite cottage plants!! Can't see them doing well in this clay soil though!! I did sow some seed outdoors, so we shall see!!

Villa Rica, GA(Zone 7a)

O trust me, Hollyhocks don't care what kind of soil they are in! I have some growing in gravel! and nothing but Ga red clay under yea I say they grow in just about any kind of dirt. Matter a fact, I can't even dig mine up b/c the ground is hard as a rock and full of gravel.
So I say try it!! you'll be surprised!!

Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

I threw some seeds out last spring because I was too weak to actually plant anything and had heard that the seed wouldn't survive long. They germinated rather sparsely, but two of them produced blooms near the ground. I am looking forward to seeing what they do this year, as I too love them in cottage gardens. Gives a garden that desirable old fashioned look.

Sharpsville, PA(Zone 5a)

I have Holly hocks before and last year... hit it right. I didn;t realize the need full sun? Well, my one plant did great. So much so, that I put in 5 more. I hope they all take. They look wonderful so far. I also tossed in some seeds about 6 weeks ago. so far, nothing. But. there is hope in my heart!

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

I have some bicolor pink/white that are perennials. They are also very aggressive reseeders. I got them from a neighbor a few years ago. I had a big bag of seed a couple years ago that was about 3 years old and some of them fell to the ground as I was carrying them out to throw away. They germinated and now I am going to have to do some serious thinning because they are taking over the bed where they sprouted.

Sharpsville, PA(Zone 5a)

You are lucky to have them from seeds. I will have to go rooting around tomorrow to see if any of mine have dared to raise their heads in the freezing zone!

Belfield, ND(Zone 4a)

mimi, you should have some coming up. I noticed today that the ones I planted last fall are coming up here, and we've been in the freezing zone too. Doesn't seem to bother them at all. They've even been snowed on, and still looking good.

Sharpsville, PA(Zone 5a)

I think we have snow in the air here. I'll have to go out there and see.

Rehoboth, MA(Zone 5a)

My beautiful double pink hollyhock has now black single blossoms.
How ddid that happen?


Swadlincote, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I grow the single hollyhocks, and find they are a short-lived perennial here (2/3years), partly because the slugs and snails get them and they also get mildew. I have started them off early under glass (April time) or sew in small trays now and put in a shaded cold frame, and either pot on and put in a cold greenhouse over winter, or keep them in the trays over winter to save space, and put out when they get growing well in spring. I am about to sow some Fig-leaved hollyhocks (A.ficifolia), Mixed Hybrids. If they grow I shall like to see what the seeds are like after being visited and cross pollinated by the bees.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

since you are in zone 9 like me - a word of caution. Hollyhocks here are apt to get rust, a fungal condition that can spread to plants around it. You can find cultivars that are resistant, but your local nursery may not have them or even know what you are talking about. It's important because this Hollyhock problem can spread to other plants around it. I speak from experience, and a lot of spraying to keep the black grunge in line. I eventually took the things out and trashed them - and in the regular trash, not the compost heap. They are beautiful and I have had them here without a problem. These are a few places you can get rust resistant seeds. I won't vouch for them, just found them on google. First swallowtail garden seeds. The rust resistant varieties are at the bottom in mixed and yellow. They are single.

This site explains the different types of hollyhocks.

Alcea Rugosa seems the most rust resistant. It's a pale yellow single and you can see it on the Swallowtail site. I've loved them when I've grown them. Oh, and don't put the sprinklers on them. Water them from the base. I think that's key because I put in a sprinkler system last year and it's the first time I had a problem. It's standard advice. If you can water from the ground you might try the fancier ones.

Here my Hollyhocks actually came back every year and got bigger as time went on.

Scotts, MI(Zone 5b)

I didn't read through all the postings so I apologize if I repeat something. My hollyhock bloomed beautifully last year (it was its first blooming, 2nd year). The end of the season when I cut it down I dug it up and moved it because it was much bigger than I thought for the space I had it in. It is now April and I am not seeing any new green shoots, is it too early? Please let me know when they come up? Thanks.

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

This is one of the hollyhocks I planted on the north side of our garage, three years ago. It not only bloomed the first year, it just keeps on going every year. New ones have started from the seed, and they didn't bloom the first year....Mother Nature keeps puzzling me! I took seeds last year and put them in another area, and didn't see them come up at all, so I'm trying again. I love the way they look, and if they wanted to fill up the entire bed I'd be fine with it. They need help in staying upright because the blossoms are so heavy.

Thumbnail by meezersfive
Scotts, MI(Zone 5b)

Hi, I guess by reading thru the postings my hollyhock was a single white and last year was its third year so maybe it is not coming up this year. Does anyone have any double seeds they are willing to sell, trade or share? thanks................

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

E-mail Nature Walker, she has HollyHock smarts.

Bensenville, IL(Zone 5a)

This is my second yr. of having hollihocks and I have yet to have them bloom but they keep coming and the plant itself gets quite large. Not sure why they haven't bloomed? Help! Denise

East Bethel, MN(Zone 4a)

Are they getting enough light? Mine do that and I have them in a 1/2 shade bed. My friend's hollyhocks from the same batch get full sun and bloom fine.

Swadlincote, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

My hollyhocks get a good amount of sun (when it shines here) and do quite well, though short-lived. Some that were in a damper spot didn't come up after their first year, but that might have been the armies of slugs and snails that are in the garden, especially with the milder winters that we've had in this part of the UK.
Is your soil very rich Denise? The plants may be making leaf growth at the expense of flowers if that is so.


Bensenville, IL(Zone 5a)

Sylvi74, Yes They're in full sun. Janice, this yr. I've really kept a tail on cutting the leaves so I don't really think that's it, mmmm! Still hoping to get some blooms! Denise

New Iberia, LA(Zone 9a)

Wow.. I have forget about this thread that I have started it. LOL Still have some seeds.. I won't be able to throw seeds cause my chickens would eat them before they start to grow LOL..

I put it on my tropical garden list!!!

Scotts, MI(Zone 5b)

My hollyhock story :-) I just started gardening two years ago, a really green thumb, only in the sense of being new!! My son gave me a little plant he had started from seed and I put it in the solid clay ground here in Michigan on the North side of the house which is fairly shady. The next summer that thing grew to be about 8 foot tall with ooodles of white double flowers, it was gorgeous. So not knowing anything about hollyhocks I cut the stalks down when they got really heavy and dried them out and saved all the seeds. I gave the seeds to my Mother who lives in Big Rapids, MI. Mine never came back up this year so I went out and bought six plugs of assorted colors. It is now August and they are really leafing out and about 1 foot tall now. Speaking to someone in the Michigan Forum they reminded me they are a biennial and will produce flowers next year. Well anyway I was throwing some weeds I had pulled out behind my hubby's little barn and guess what I found? All kinds of hollyhocks (foilage only) where they had self seeded from the stalks I had thrown back there last fall. Made me smile. So next year I guess I will have pretty white hollyhocks behind the barn :-). Problem is: the leaves have these lighter green swirlies all through them, my son said they are miners I believe. He said it is some sort of bug?? Anyone familiar with this and what happens with this problem? Thanks for your help.

East Bethel, MN(Zone 4a)

Those swirlies are leaf miners. I get them too, but not usually badly enough to do anything about them. They are a little bug that eats between the layers in the leaf. You can squish them inside the leaf with your fingers or you can pull off the infested leaf and get rid of it (don't compost-spreads the miners).

New Richmond, WI(Zone 3b)

I will planting hollyhocks for the first time this year. We are on top of a hill and it is very windy most of the time. Do they need to be supported and if so, how?

Paris, TX

The tall variety can get about 10-12 ft tall and will need support. Plant close to a sturcture if possible.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

We had hollyhocks, grown from seed, for many years and still have one patch left. Between the rust and the leaf miners it is annoying to constantly be checking on them. I do rip off the infected leaves and throw them in the garbage, never the compost.

When they bloom they are lovely and do impart that cottage feeling and they're also useful to blot out unwanted distractions.

Ours grew to 13' one year before a summer storm broke the stems down to about 3 or 4'. That's much too discouraging for me.

Metamora, IL

Is there a way to keep hollyhocks from looking spindly and gangly? All of the neighbors around here have hollyhocks, but the great majority of them appear unsightly to me---few blooms, mostly at the very top, and the plants are ratty looking. Not a rust problem that I can see, just unattractive. I like hollyhocks very much, and would like to have some, but not if they are unsightly much of the time. Thanks for any help.

Brimfield, MA(Zone 5a)

I planted my first hollyhock plant last year and it did fine. I cut it back in the fall and the weather has been so warm I actually see some growth out there with the melting snow. Even had our windows open today for a little fresh air as we had temps to 65 degrees (you gotta love New England's ever-changing weather). Anyway, I didn't know this plant was a bi-ennial when I purchased it. I've heard these things have a tendency to take over, so I'm wondering if they re-seed/self seed each year?



Milton, MA(Zone 6a)


I've NEVER actually grown hollyhocks but I've been in love with them for a year now. From what I've read, they DO self-seed. Wish me luck with mine and I'll send you a wish for luck with yours.

xxxx, Carrie

Brimfield, MA(Zone 5a)

Oh goody, lol, thanks Carrie!!!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

My pleasure, Megan... here's your wish >*< it's small because I'm not exactly sure what we should wish for.

xxxxx, Carrie

Chewelah, WA(Zone 5a)

This message was edited May 30, 2010 7:56 PM

Cottonwood, AZ(Zone 7b)

I planted hollyhocks from seed three years ago and got lovely flowers the same year and they have reseeded themselves every year and grow up a 7foot chain link fence but do need to be staked or they will fall over because they had so many blooms on them. Being new to gardening, I thought that I should pull them all up and throw them away last fall because I thought you needed to change what you planted every year or two and I had grown the hollyhocks for three years so I pulled them all up and now I am sick about it. I have let that area go all winter and will ammend the soil and then replant from seed again and see what happens. I really love hollyhocks and am hopefull that I will again have them in my yard. We have a very hot,dry summer but cold winter and they do very well in full sun. I had single and double and every color from white,yellow pink, red and the most beautiful salmon color. Hope I am lucky again this year

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)


Did you plant them from seed originally? Did you plant them straight in the ground or start them inside? I have a couple HH plants that I bought ($$$) and planted last fall but I'm so anxious to see them bloom, and I want more more more.

xxxxx, Carrie

This message was edited Feb 12, 2006 12:03 AM

Cottonwood, AZ(Zone 7b)

I planted from seed that was given me by a friend who has a lot of hollyhocks and they came up first year. She has moved so bought some seeds at local Home Depot the other day and it says right on the package that it is 365 days before bloom so I am going to plant them anyway after adding some soil ammendment with the idea that I probably wont see anything this year but it is still possable that I will get some because there were lots of seeds that fell onto the ground before I pulled everything up so I am still hopefull. I did plant them straight into the ground.

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