In my quest to forget about winter and review some of the blooms from the garden in previous years it is time to share some lovely hollyhocks or alcea rosea. These drought resistant plants do well in sunny locations. An interesting thing I read was that the stems, when dried, can be used as firewood … did you know that? It certainly isn’t something that I have ever tried.
They can grow up to 3 meters tall and have a really long tap root so do not transplant very well. I have had mine growing at the back of the fence garden.
As they are biennials be sure to plant them for two consecutive years.
In the first year the plant will grow just leaves, and in the second year the tall bloom stalk will grow.
Each tall flower stalk produces many flowers and each flower develops a seed pod with many seeds. At first the seed pod is green and then it turns brown. Leave the pod on the plant to dry. When it turns brown and begins to open it is time to snip them off. I love how the seeds form a circle around the center of the pod.
Seeds are arranged inside the pod in a neat circle. Be sure to let some seeds drop naturally into the garden so that your new hollyhock plants will grow the following year. Sow seeds in the fall for new plants next spring.
For seed collectors here is a printable seed packet
or a seed label to swap your seeds in.
Sow seeds outside when all danger of frost has passed. Or start them inside about 6 weeks before it will be time to plant them outside. You can also plant them in the fall as long as they have enough time to develop roots before the frost sets in. This plant will also self seed, so you might be tempted to think they are perennial as they will grow each year.