How to Grow Hollyhock Plants: Expert Tips & Easy Steps

how to grow hollyhock plants - ultimate guide
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Hollyhocks are gorgeous flowering plants that can add a splash of color to any garden. They are known for their tall, elegant stems and showy, cup-shaped blooms that come in a variety of colors, from white to pink to deep red. If you’re wondering how to grow hollyhock plants successfully, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll provide you with expert tips and easy steps to help you grow healthy, beautiful hollyhocks in your garden.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hollyhocks are beautiful flowering plants that can add color to any garden.
  • They are known for their tall, elegant stems and showy, cup-shaped blooms that come in a variety of colors.
  • Expert tips and easy steps for growing hollyhock plants will be provided in this article.

Choosing the Right Hollyhock Plant Variety

Hollyhocks are available in various colors, heights, and bloom times. Choosing the right variety for your garden is essential to create a beautiful and healthy garden. The most popular hollyhock plant varieties include:

VarietyHeightBloom Time
Alcea rosea ‘Chater’s Double’6-8 feetJune – August
Alcea rosea ‘Queeny Purple’4-6 feetJune – August
Alcea rosea ‘Summer Carnival’5-7 feetJuly – September

When selecting a hollyhock plant variety, consider the height and the bloom time. Taller varieties work well as a backdrop or in garden borders, while shorter ones do well in containers or as mid-level plants. Additionally, mixing different bloom times ensures your garden will have continuous and vibrant color throughout the growing season.

Choosing the Right Hollyhock Plant Variety

Always choose a reputable nursery or supplier to ensure the hollyhock plant variety you select is healthy and disease-free. Also, consider the existing plants in your garden as hollyhocks prefer full sun and well-draining soil. When planting multiple varieties, ensure they have ample space to avoid overcrowding and increase air circulation, thus preventing potential diseases.

Planting Hollyhocks from Seeds

If you want to grow hollyhock plants from scratch, start with planting seeds in the right season and soil conditions. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil.
  2. Cultivate the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches.
  3. Mix in organic matter like compost or manure to improve soil fertility.
  4. Sow hollyhock seeds in early spring or late fall, covering them with a thin layer of soil.
  5. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, watering deeply once or twice a week.
  6. Seedlings should start appearing in 10-14 days.
  7. Thin the seedlings to a distance of 12-18 inches apart, leaving only the strongest ones to grow.
  8. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once every month during the growing season.
  9. Keep the area weed-free to prevent competition for nutrients.

Expert tip: Hollyhock plants are biennials, meaning they complete their lifecycle in two years. The first year, they grow foliage and a taproot. In the second year, they produce flowers and seeds before dying.

Now that you know how to grow hollyhock plants from seeds, you can enjoy their vibrant blooms and charming cottage garden look every year.

Hollyhock Plant Care and Maintenance

how to grow hollyhock plants in garden

Hollyhock plants require proper care and maintenance to ensure healthy growth and abundant blooming. Here are some essential tips to keep your hollyhock plants thriving:


Regular watering is crucial for hollyhock plants, especially during hot and dry weather. Water deeply once a week, soaking the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. Avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent fungal diseases.


Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formula, in early spring before new growth appears. Repeat every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can lead to excessive foliage growth and fewer flowers.

Pest Control:

Inspect your hollyhock plants regularly for pests like aphids, spider mites, and Japanese beetles. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control these pests, or try companion planting with fragrant herbs like lavender and basil, which repel insects.


Removing spent blooms and dead or diseased foliage promotes better blooming and overall plant health. Cut back the entire plant to the ground in late fall or early spring. Avoid pruning hollyhock plants during the growing season, as it can disrupt flowering.

Winter Care:

In colder climates, hollyhock plants may require winter protection, such as a layer of mulch or burlap wrap. Cut back the foliage to 2-3 inches above the ground after the first frost, and cover the plant with mulch or burlap to insulate the roots from freezing temperatures.

Pruning Hollyhock Plants

Pruning hollyhock plants is a crucial step in promoting healthy growth and vibrant blooming. Regular pruning helps the plant to grow strong stems and produce more flowers, and it also prevents the plant from becoming too tall and top-heavy.

The best time to prune hollyhocks is in the late fall or early spring when the plant is dormant. You should remove any dead or damaged stems, as well as any leaves that have fallen to the ground. It’s also a good idea to prune back the stems by about a third to encourage the plant to produce new growth in the spring.

During the growing season, you can also deadhead the spent flowers to encourage the plant to continue blooming. Simply snip off the flowers just below the spent bloom to prevent the plant from producing seeds and to encourage the production of new flowers.

When pruning hollyhock plants, it’s important to use sharp, clean pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant. You should also make clean cuts just above a leaf node to prevent the stem from rotting.

Hollyhock Plant Propagation

Propagating hollyhock plants can be done through different methods, depending on the gardener’s preference and resources. Here are some ways to propagate hollyhock plants:

  • Division: This is the most common method of propagating hollyhock plants. It involves separating the plant’s rooted stems from the main plant and replanting them elsewhere. Division should be done in early spring or early autumn to allow enough time for the plant to establish itself before the colder or warmer months arrive.
  • Cuttings: Hollyhock plants can also be propagated through stem cuttings. Choose healthy and mature stems, cut them at a 45-degree angle, and remove the leaves from the bottom part. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone powder and plant them in the well-draining soil mix. Keep the soil moist, and protect the cuttings from direct sunlight until they develop roots in a few weeks.
  • Root division: If the hollyhock plant has a strong root system, it can be propagated by dividing the roots into two or more pieces. This method should be done in early spring or early autumn, similar to the division method.

Propagation allows gardeners to create new hollyhock plants without buying seeds or seedlings. By propagating, you can also control the quality and traits of the plants, ensuring that they have the desired characteristics for your landscape.

Common Hollyhock Plant Diseases and Pests

Hollyhock plants are relatively hardy and resistant to pests and diseases. However, there are a few common problems that may affect the health and appearance of your plants.

Fungal Diseases

Hollyhocks are susceptible to several fungal diseases, including rust, powdery mildew, and leaf spot. These diseases can cause discoloration, wilting, and deformation of the leaves and flowers. To prevent fungal diseases, make sure to plant your hollyhocks in well-drained soil with good air circulation and avoid overhead watering. If your plants do become infected, remove and discard the affected leaves and treat them with a fungicide according to the instructions on the label.

Insect Pests

Aphids, spider mites, and Japanese beetles are common pests that can attack hollyhock plants. These pests can cause yellowing and distortion of the leaves, as well as damage to the flowers. To prevent insect infestations, keep your garden clean and free of weeds, and regularly inspect your plants for signs of pest activity. You can also use insecticides or natural predators, such as ladybugs, to control pest populations.

Viral Diseases

Hollyhocks can also be affected by viral diseases, such as mosaic virus and cucumber mosaic virus. These diseases can cause stunted growth, yellowing of the leaves, and distorted flowers. Unfortunately, there is no cure for viral diseases, and infected plants should be removed and destroyed to prevent the spread of the virus to other plants. To reduce the risk of viral infections, plant disease-resistant varieties of hollyhocks and avoid planting them near other infected plants.

Are Hollyhocks Annuals or Perennials?

If you’re planning to grow hollyhock plants, you might be wondering whether they’re annuals or perennials. The answer is: both!

Hollyhocks are biennials that produce flowers in their second year of growth. However, they can also act as short-lived perennials, growing for a few years before dying out.

The good news is that you can encourage hollyhocks to come back every year by allowing some of the flowers to go to seed and self-seed naturally. You can also collect the seeds and plant them in the fall for next year’s crop.

Hollyhocks grow best in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8, and their lifespan can vary depending on the growing conditions and care they receive.


Hollyhock plants are a beautiful addition to any garden, and with the expert tips and easy steps provided in this article, you can successfully grow and care for them. Whether you choose to plant from seeds or propagate from an existing plant, hollyhocks will reward you with stunning blooms year after year. Remember to choose the right variety for your garden, provide proper care and maintenance, and be on the lookout for common diseases and pests.

With their tall stalks and vibrant colors, hollyhocks are sure to add a touch of charm and elegance to your outdoor space. So why not give them a try and enjoy the beauty they bring to your garden for years to come?


Q: How do I choose the right hollyhock plant variety?

A: There are various hollyhock plant varieties available. Consider factors like height, color, and bloom time to select the one that suits your garden best.

Q: How do I plant hollyhocks from seeds?

A: To plant hollyhocks from seeds, prepare the soil by loosening it and removing any weeds. Sow the seeds directly in the garden, cover them lightly with soil, and keep the soil moist until seedlings emerge.

Q: How do I care for and maintain hollyhock plants?

A: Hollyhock plants require regular watering, especially during dry spells. Provide them with rich, well-draining soil and fertilize them once or twice a season. Monitor for pests and diseases and take appropriate action if necessary.

Q: How do I prune hollyhock plants?

A: Pruning hollyhock plants is important for better growth and blooming. Cut back the stems to their base after they have finished flowering. Remove any dead or diseased foliage throughout the growing season.

Q: How do I propagate hollyhock plants?

A: Hollyhock plants can be propagated through methods like division, cuttings, and root division. Choose the method that works best for you and follow the specific instructions for each.

Q: What are common diseases and pests that affect hollyhock plants?

A: Hollyhock plants can face diseases like rust and pests like aphids and Japanese beetles. Regularly inspect your plants, ensure proper sanitation, and consider organic pest control methods to prevent and treat these issues.

Q: Are hollyhocks annuals or perennials?

A: Hollyhocks are perennials, meaning they can come back every year. However, they may not live indefinitely, so it’s important to provide proper care for their longevity.

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