If you are looking for height in the cottage garden then the Hollyhock is the plant to grow. These are a biennial, they are grown from seeds and in the frost year they establish a root system but will only grow foliage during the this period.
And to add a little variety, we now have lower growing types, yes Dwarf Hollyhocks are available for sale as well. So add some height with the taller types. Plant the lower growing ones towards the front of the border, or mix and match. The perennial border will look great.
It is in the second year that the Hollyhock or Alcea puts on its display of flowers rising on a tall spike. It flowers sets seeds and dies in that second year.
In the natural environment the seeds would be self sown and the process would begin again. Of course you would have some flowering one year and others the next, a continual display. Many gardeners like to collect the seeds and sow them in fall, just to make sure.
Planting the seeds in fall is said to give the plants a chance to develop a root system over winter, ready to put on growth in spring. Some gardeners do plant the seeds in spring with excellent results.
Position : Full sun to part shade (part shade in hotter climates)
Are they Deer Resistant ?
The short answer is NO. They may not be the first plant that Deer choose will eat, however they will be eaten.
So you are ready to collect the seeds and are ready to clean up. Snip of the seed heads once the seeds are dry and black and place them in a bag to ripen fully. Remove the plants and destroy them, this prevents diseases such as rust
Some gardeners like to cut them right back after flowering, you may just get a second flush of flowers, not as big but still they are Hollyhock flowers and late in the season.
It is now possible to get ‘Dwarf Hollyhocks’.
These are wonderful low growing varieties still have the colorful flowers, they just are not tall.
So if you do not want the height, or want to have a mix between the taller and lower growing types, they are worth seeking out.
Growing Hollyhocks From Seed
- Seed scan be started indoors using a heated propagation mat to provide some bottom heat, this speeds up germination and early root growth.
- We usually sow directly by preparing a patch of ground and sowing directly, just lightly covering the seed with soil.
- Keep seeds moist during germination.
- he advantage of fall sowing is that seeds will be fresh and will germinate more quickly, however spring sowing will work just as well.
- Use an all purpose fertiliser for good results, although some gardeners recommend a high nitrogen fertiliser in the first year, just a little though.
Where to buy
Hollyhock seeds are readily available for sale at good nurseries as well as online.