Gardening

How to Grow Hollyhock Flowers

how to grow hollyhocks

It has begun – I have started ordering seeds for next year. 

My husband always gets on my case because I get WAY too excited about ordering seeds…which usually leads to me ordering many more varieties and kinds of plants than we actually need. Because of this, last year, he had to build me my own dedicated seed starting station. You can view the full article here – it’s pretty awesome yet also super easy to make!

I’m always on the hunt for new flowers to grow, and this year, I decided to give hollyhocks a try. These flowers are absolutely stunning, to say the least, and should be a fixture in anybody’s garden.

Most varieties of hollyhocks are considered short-lived perennials, meaning they will only come back one or two seasons after their initial growing season. Other varieties are biennials, meaning they will not flower the first year of growth and will only start producing flowers during the second season. These hollyhocks grow well in USDA hardiness zones three through eight and can be grown as annuals in most other climates. 

Growing hollyhocks is a fairly simple task, as they don’t require much attention to grow and thrive. These flowers have a history of hardiness when in the ideal regions and conditions, which adds to their popularity.   

Here’s what you need to know.

**J&R Pierce Family Farm is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to allow sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. I often link to Amazon when recommending certain products, and if you choose to purchase, I may earn a small percentage of the sale. It costs you nothing extra, and all recommended products are ones that I personally vouch for. **

How to Grow Hollyhock Flowers

how to grow hollyhocks
Photo: Unsplash

What Are the Best Soil Conditions for Hollyhock Flowers?

One of the primary reasons why hollyhocks are generally so easy to grow is that they can grow in nearly any soil condition, making them adaptable to different geographic locations. Although they can grow in various conditions, ideally, the soil should be well-draining and have a pH between six and eight. 

Nutrient levels in the soil should be moderate. While some nutrients can help, too many can be overwhelming for the plant. This is why it’s so important that you test your soil pH and nutrient content before you start to grow. I recommend using this test kit to give yourself a good idea. 

When planted in ideal soil conditions, your hollyhock flowers can thrive and will be more likely to come back the following year. Keeping ideal soil conditions can also add to your flowers’ disease resistance by keeping them as healthy as possible. 

How to Water Hollyhock Flowers

For the most part, your hollyhock flowers should get the water they need from natural rainfall, although the occasional watering may have some benefits. In general, the soil should be kept slightly moist and not saturated. When the soil around the plant is kept waterlogged, certain diseases are more likely to develop and harm your plant.

If you water your hollyhock flowers, it is recommended to water thoroughly each time—assuming you have well-draining soil. It is also advised to water at the base of the plant directly and try to keep water off of the leaves, as this can lead to disease.  

Sunlight Conditions for Hollyhock Flowers

Hollyhocks are a full-sun flower, meaning that they require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day and do not need to be shaded at all. Sunlight will help your flowers bloom and will keep the plant healthy overall. 

Too much shade may prevent flower growth or may stunt the height of these usually tall plants. The foliage on the hollyhock plants are designed to withstand the heat of the sun and shouldn’t be damaged even in the sunniest locations.

Tips for Fertilizing Hollyhock Flowers

Hollyhocks do not necessarily need fertilizer to grow well, but if your soil is low in nutrients, it may do the plant good to add some. Adding certain fertilizers can also promote the growth of more flowers—who doesn’t want more flowers?

Hollyhock flowers do well with 10-10-10 fertilizer, which, in short, stands for equal levels nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You should only need two to three tablespoons of this fertilizer per plant per season. 

Another option is a water-soluble fertilizer designed for flowering plants

Either of these fertilizers should be easy to find in the garden section of your local stores or by following the links above. 

You can also use compost! It’s well-balanced and a great source of nutrients for your plants. 

Pruning Hollyhock Flowers

During growing seasons, your hollyhocks will not generally require any pruning as they primarily grow upwards and do not take over sections where they are not planted—unless you consider the seed spread at the end of the season. Some gardeners deadhead the spent blooms, although this may not be necessary for hollyhocks. 

If your hollyhock flowers are perennials, it is recommended that you prune back about two-thirds of the plant once it has gone dormant to help promote growth for the following year.

Plant Spacing

When planting your hollyhock flowers, you should space them anywhere from twelve to eighteen inches apart to ensure there is not competition for resources between your plants. Plants that are planted too closely together may also not be able to grow to their full potential due to limiting space constraints. 

As mentioned previously, hollyhock flowers will drop a significant amount of seeds at the end of each growing period—effectively reseeding themselves. 

These seeds will drop and may be moved by a number of different natural factors such as wind and animals. Since you may not be able to control where the seeds are planted—assuming you don’t harvest the seeds beforehand—you may need to transplant the plants once they have sprouted to ensure that they don’t overcrowd each other. 

Where to Grow Hollyhock Flowers

how to grow hollyhocks
Photo: Unsplash

For hollyhock flowers, their height is the primary factor to take into consideration when deciding where to plant them. Hollyhock flowers grow tall, making them an effective privacy barrier in some cases. 

Their height can also be a limiting factor if you don’t want to overpower shorter flowers that may be growing nearby. There are also some considerations to be made when planting tall flowers because they are more susceptible to wind damage. 

Along Your Fence

One of the most popular locations you will find hollyhock flowers growing is along fences, particularly fences that are see-through such as chain link. These flowers grow well along these fences because they provide a tall and dense privacy barrier when planted in a row—you might as well put that height to good use!

In the Back of the Garden

If you plant your hollyhocks in a flower garden or landscaping where other flowers are involved, it is generally a good idea to plant them towards the back to avoid crowding out the flowers nearby. Hollyhock flowers, when fully mature, may start to create shade for other plants which may be problematic for nearby flowers that also require a full-sun location. 

Next to a Wall

Another common location to plant hollyhocks is close to a wall such as the side of your house or garage. When next to a wall, there is no risk of the flowers crowding out other plants that may be growing behind it. If planting outside of your home or garage, remember that these flowers can grow to be six feet tall, so make sure you don’t plant them in front of any windows that you don’t want covered. 

Low-Wind Locations

The height of the hollyhock flowers adds to their overall charm, but it also gives them a point of vulnerability. These tall flowers are more likely to catch wind and may be harmed by straight-line winds. 

To prevent damage from winds, plant them in locations where wind is directed in a different location. This is another reason why planting along a wall or fence is a good idea as this will cut back on the potential for wind damage. 

Hollyhock Diseases

how to grow hollyhocks
Photo: Unsplash

Although hollyhocks are fairly easy to grow, there are some diseases that are common to these flowers that can be prevented. Preventing these diseases is the easiest way to handle them, but catching them early on is also beneficial if you monitor them closely. 

Hollyhock Rust

Hollyhock rust—also simply called ‘rust’—is one of the most common diseases that may plague your flowers. Rust is a fungal disease that can damage the foliage of the plant and leave behind brown- or orange-colored spots on the leaves. Although the foliage can be damaged from rust, the disease is rarely life-threatening to the plant.

The best way to avoid hollyhock rust is to make sure the soil around the plant does not become saturated, which is easily done by planting in well-draining soil. If rust does occur, lightly spraying the infected leaves with a fungicide every seven to ten days as needed should take care of the problem and prevent any further damage.

Anthracnose

Anthracnose is another fungal disease that is caused by over moist and humid conditions. This disease will start by forming red, black, or tan spots on the leaves which may eventually lead to yellow and wilting leaves. Anthracnose, if not treated, can heavily damage plants by killing a majority of the foliage and has the potential to kill the plant over time.

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Keeping the soil levels at a good moisture level and preventing over saturation is the best preventative measure. If anthracnose does start to infect your hollyhocks, spraying a fungicide every seven to ten days should get rid of the problem after a few applications. 

Leaf Spot

Yet another fungal disease, leaf spot will cause yellow, brown, orange, or black spots on the leaves of your hollyhocks. These spots are more of a nuisance than anything, and a healthy plant can generally fight this disease off without any intervention.

Instead of directly preventing leaf spot, keeping your plant healthy overall and letting it fight off disease is the easiest route. Leaf spot does not generally require the use of a fungicide or other chemical, and can simply be wiped off if it gets out of hand. 

Buy Seeds Now to Grow Your Own Hollyhock Flowers

how to grow hollyhocks
Photo: Unsplash

There you have it! Everything you need to know about growing hollyhock flowers. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, I recommend ordering your seeds or transplants soon. There’s sure to be a shortage again this year, so you don’t want to miss out.

Happy gardening!

Do you grow hollyhock flowers? What tips do you have for planting these beauties? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Want to learn more about farming? Be sure to take a look at these other articles.

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Author: Rebekah Pierce

I'm a writer and small farm owner, and lover of everything outdoors. I'm hoping to share my passion for farming, gardening, and homesteading with you on my blogging journey.

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