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Plant Care

How to Grow Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks epitomise cottage charm, offering towering blooms all summer. Easy to grow, they provide a vertical splash of colour and a haven for bees. Plant these biennials once, and enjoy their vibrant flowers and happy presence year after year.

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Grow Hollyhocks From Seed

Sow hollyhock seeds indoors in April-May or directly outside in May-June. Use a moist compost tray for indoor sowing, place seeds 5cm apart, and cover lightly with compost. Keep the tray warm without light until germination, which takes 10-14 days, then expose to light. After 3-4 weeks, when roots show at the tray's base, prick out the seedlings. Outdoors, sow seeds in summer for next year's bloom, especially with perennial varieties requiring cold to germinate. For biennials, store seeds cool and dry for sowing the next year.

Keep warm without light till germination.

What Hollyhocks Needs

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Watering: Water newly planted hollyhocks and seedlings regularly. Feeding: Hollyhocks thrive in nutrient-rich soil without extra feed but need liquid fertiliser in pots. Protection: Plant hollyhocks by walls or fences for wind protection; use canes for added support.

Growing Hollyhocks Across the Season

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Sow hollyhock seeds indoors in spring; repot seedlings before transplanting outside.

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In early summer, plant out your hollyhock plants.

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After flowering, cut back the plants and collect seeds from the dry seed heads for future planting.

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Plan which hollyhock varieties you want in next year's garden.

Hollyhocks S.O.S.

Hollyhocks may fall prey to rust, identifiable by orange-brown spots on leaves and stems, which can be fatal in severe cases. The earliest symptoms appear underneath the leaves. Promptly remove and dispose of any afflicted leaves. In fall, discard all fallen foliage to prevent the fungus from surviving the winter in the soil.

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Watch for orange-brown leave spots.

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