How to Germinate Hollyhock Seeds

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A hollyhock flower in full bloom.
A hollyhock flower in full bloom. (Image: Red Hollyhock image by glosdad from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Hollyhocks are garden favorites, these tall plants showcase stunning big flowers between July and September. Hollyhocks are generally hardy and very easy to care for, starting from seed germination.

Hollyhocks can be either annual or perennial. Both varieties require identical growing conditions, but they will be different in appearance. Annual hollyhocks produce leaves and flowers in the same year, while perennial hollyhocks grow leaves the first year and flowers the following year. Perennial hollyhocks may produce flowers in the first year, if you start germinating the seeds early in the season.

Things You'll Need

  • Hollyhock seeds
  • Rich potting soil
  • Vermiculite
  • 12-inch deep pots

Purchase hollyhock seeds from a seed catalog or a local gardening center. You may harvest the seeds from your last crop, if you have grown hollyhocks from stock plants in the last year. Hollyhock seed is large, you can easily peel off the brown husk containing the seed. Purchased seeds are rather tiny. Regardless of how you acquire the seeds, however, hollyhocks grow into mature plants.

Start germinating seeds indoors six to eight weeks before your last frost date in USDA zones 3 to 9 to get a head start.Hollyhocks bloom from July to September in most regions of the United States.

Use rich potting soil mixed with a bit of vermiculite and offering good drainage to help the seeds germinate. Plant them in pots with a depth of 12 inches or more to allow room for the development of their long root systems.

Sprinkle two or three seeds into the top of each container and cover them with a 1/4-inch layer of soil. Water until the soil is damp.

Place the pots in a sunny location near a window. Keep the soil damp. Seed germination will start within 14 to 21 days, depending on soil temperature.

Choose a sunny location that is screened from the wind when transplanting hollyhock seedlings to the yard. Begin transplanting when the danger of frost in your region has passed or as soon as they show true leaves. Hollyhocks are large plants and can grow up to 8 feet tall. Space each seedling 18 to 24 inches apart at a depth of 12 inches. Water regularly.

Grow one hollyhock variety at a time to save pure seed, as hollyhocks do cross-pollinate. If you want to grow different kinds of hollyhock, separate varieties by a quarter mile.

Tips & Warnings

  • Another way to germinate the seed is to put it damp soil in a clear plastic bag. Place the bag in a sunny spot.

References

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