Hollyhocks Love em or Hate em
Hollyhocks are one of the easiest plants to grow from seed. In fact, they will reseed themselves. And that is where the problem lies. Very soon, you could be inundated with these beautiful, spiky, tall flowers. And who said you could never have enough flowers in your garden!
Hollyhock seeds can be tossed onto the soil anytime from early Spring to early Fall. They should be lightly covered with soil so that they do not blow into your beautiful lawn; this would be a dreadful mistake as you would soon need broad-leaf weed killer to kill off the new rosettes. In my garden, I soon learned that when I left a seed-forming stalk lean over the grass, or if I pruned, and then carried, one to the compost pile, I would be digging out new seedlings in the near future. I quickly learned to bag every browning stalk before I cut it down. Even still, I do gather and strew a multitude of seeds produced by my plants because I love their abundant color and size. Talk about height! Not many other plants have such stature. This is one of the main attractions of the hollyhock; it makes a grand statement at the back of the sunny border.
Hollyhocks adore the hot, dry, sunny border. They need very little soil to grow. I have two hollyhocks that grew between two unistone pavers (the seeds fell off a stalk I was carrying). I also have hollyhocks growing in semi-shade; they are a little more spindly but they flower just the same.
Hollyhocks are easily attacked by rust; a good application of fungicide in the early Spring should control it. To help cut down on the risk of rust, you should avoid crowding the plants, water only in the early part of the day and avoid splashing water on the foliage. If the plants leaves turn yellow and become unsightly, they can be cut off and thrown in the garbage, but not in the compost.
Hollyhocks are usually biennial, but perennial hollyhocks do exist. Biennial plants are those that put out leaves the first year and flower the next year. The stalks can be 3.5 meters tall and the flowers generally are pink, white, red, or dark purple. Hollyhocks have a long taproot, which makes their transplanting or eradication difficult. They are hardy in Zones 2-10.