How to Grow and Care for Hollyhocks

Alcea rosea, commonly called Hollyhock, is an old garden favorites. Growing Hollyhocks in the garden is the goal of many gardeners who remember these impressive flowers from their youth. The flower stalks on Hollyhock can reach heights of 9 feet (2.7 m) tall! They can tower above a garden, adding a lovely vertical element to your yard.

Growing Conditions and General Care

The first thing to understand is how to plant Hollyhocks. Hollyhocks need full sun and moist, rich, 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 to 3 weeks after last frost. Hollyhock seeds only need to be planted right below the soil, no more than 1/4-inch (6 mm) deep. Hollyhock plants should be about 2 feet (60 cm) apart to grow well. You can also plant bare root 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.

Care Hollyhocks
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First of all, Hollyhocks are a short lived perennial. This means that most varieties will only live 2 to 3 years. Their lifespan can be extended some by removing growing Hollyhock flowers as soon as they fade. 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.


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 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 so the problem will only affect the leaves and not the flowers.



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