Image by Garry Knight
By Heather Rhoades
Growing hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) in the garden is the goal of many gardeners who remember these impressive flowers from their youth. The flower stalks on hollyhocks can reach heights of 9 feet tall! They can tower above a garden, adding a lovely vertical element to your yard. Let’s look at a few tips on hollyhocks to help you grow them in your yard.
How to Plant Hollyhocks
The fist thing to understand is how to plant hollyhocks. Hollyhocks need full sun and moist, rich but well drained soil. The mistake many novice hollyhock growers make is to plant this flower in soil that is too dry.
If you are planting seeds, sow the seeds outside about a week before last frost. If you are planting seedlings out, wait about 2 – 3 weeks after last frost. Hollyhock seeds only need to be planted right below the soil, no more than 1/4 of an inch deep. Hollyhock plants should be about 2 feet apart to grow well. Bare root hollyhocks can also be planted.
How to Grow Hollyhocks
Once you have planted your hollyhocks, they will need minimal care, but there are a few things you should be aware of when growing hollyhocks. Here are some tips on hollyhocks.
First of all, hollyhocks are a short lived perennial. This means that most varieties will only live 2 – 3 years. Their lifespan can be extended some by removing growing hollyhock flowers as soon as they fade. And if you live in a non-tropical region, cutting them back to the ground and mulching them will also help.
The one benefit that comes from growing hollyhock flowers is that they easily reseed themselves. While they may be short lived, in their proper growing conditions, they will continually grow more, which will keep the hollyhock flowers consistent in years to come.
Growing hollyhocks also benefit from fertilizer or compost in the spring.
Tips on Hollyhocks and Their Problems
Hollyhocks are easy to grow, but they are not without their problems. When growing hollyhock flowers, you need to keep an eye out for rust. Rust will typically attack the lower leaves but it may spread to more upper leaves. To help keep rust to a minimum, some tips on hollyhocks include:
- Remember to water from below
- Treatment with a fungicide
- Make sure the plant has good air circulation
All of these tips should help but will probably not eliminate the rust problem. Your best bet is to keep rust contained to the lower branches. Then the problem will only affect the leaves and not the flowers.
Now that you know how to plant hollyhocks and how to grow hollyhocks, you can grow these wonderful flowers in your garden. Growing hollyhocks in your garden will add some drama and exciting height.