Growing hollyhock flowers is the ideal way to create a cottage garden setting. The long stalks produce romantic white, pink, and burgundy blossoms. Hollyhocks are easy to grow and require little maintenance. Use these guidelines for producing hollyhocks that will thrive for 2 to 3 years.
Sow seeds indoors in sandy soil. Press them into the soil a half inch below the rim and cover with another half inch of soil. Keep the trays in a shaded cool location until they germinate in 10 to 12 days. Once they develop their first leaves, transplant into small pots our outdoors in the garden.
Plant hollyhocks in full sun near a wall or fence for support. Ensure soil is moist and rich, but does not get overly wet. Before planting, mix in compost or manure.
Avoid planting them too close to shrubs or hedges, as their roots will compete for nutrients in the soil. Also, space them 18 to 36 inches apart. Do not place them too close together, as they grow better with more air circulation. To prevent damage, as the stalks grow tall, keep them upright with stakes.
Thoroughly water hollyhocks during hot summer months, but avoid over watering them. Hollyhocks are drought resistant.
Check plants regularly for the presence of rust, or red bumps on lower leaves. If left untreated, the plant will be disfigured and die. To prevent rust, apply compost and water them well during potential stress periods over the summer. If you notice rust, remove the first two leaves to prevent the spread of disease and apply a fungicide or copper or lime sulfur spray. In addition, water the plant from below.
Cut off the flower stalks and crush open the brown brittle seed pods. Scatter the seeds over the area to grow next year.