How to Propagate a Hollyhock
Hollyhock is a popular plant in many gardens. Blooms come in red, pink, purple, yellow and white, giving the landscape a bright and cheery look. Some flowers are also available in a nearly black color. Flower arrangements come in single, double or ruffled patterns. Hollyhock can grow up to 8 feet tall, giving it a majestic look wherever it occurs on the landscape. Because of their height, they're ideal to use as background flowers in garden arrangements or for screening along fences. Here's how to successfully propagate your hollyhocks.
Step 1: When to Plant
The plants can be propagated annually or as biennials. You can sow seeds in the late spring when you are certain that all freezing is past. If you want them as biennials, plant in the middle of the summer. During the first year only leaves will develop, but blooms should appear in the second year.
Step 2: Site Location
The flowering shrub prefers well drained sandy soils that are moderately acidic. Once it is established, the plant does well in full sun areas, but it can tolerate some shade. Planting in full sun will help safeguard against rust, which is a common disease for this flowering plant. Make sure you plant in an area where the hollyhock will have some protection against strong winds, such as next to a fence or along a wall. If winds become too disruptive you will have to stake the plants.
Step 3: Preparation of Site
Dig the ground using a trowel, and apply a good amount of compost. Mix well. The compost will enrich the soil and help give the plants a good start in growing. Healthy root development occurs easily when manure is added into the soil. Manure also boosts the soil ecosystem.
Step 4: Sowing the Seeds
Seed propagation is simple. Sow seeds about 2 feet apart in groups of 7 to 10 for best results. Cover the seeds with a light amount of soil. Avoid placing the seeds too deep, as germination will be delayed and they may end up rotting in the soil.
Step 5: Watering
Using a watering can, apply some water lightly so that seeds are not disturbed. Avoid using a hose, as the pressure of water could destabilize the seeds. Sprouting will occur after several weeks. If you wish, you can transplant the seedlings to another area in about mid-September. Continue applying water frequently during the early growing phase to support healthy plant growth. Be careful to avoid over-watering as hollyhock can develop wet feet, which encourages rust to set in, especially in areas where humidity is high.
Step 6: Fertilizer
Apply some liquid fertilizer once a month during the early growing phase to encourage healthy growth. Once fully established, the plants reseed and colonize on their own making, annual replanting unnecessary.