How to Plant Hollyhocks From Seed


Hollyhocks are often selected by home gardeners and landscapers as a backdrop flower, due to the fact that they can grow to a height of 6 to 9 feet tall. Their height makes them a popular back border choice for flower beds, gardens or fences. Hollyhock's showy flowers bloom right into fall. Once you have planted hollyhocks, they will grow each year, producing more blooms every season. You can plant hollyhock seeds directly in the garden, or start them indoors, ahead of the growing season.

Direct Sow Seed Into Ground

Step 1

Plan to sow your hollyhock seeds into the ground approximately one week before the last expected frost date for your growing area.

Step 2

Pick out a location for your hollyhocks that receives full sun and has well-drained soil. When selecting the site, remember that hollyhocks can grow to a height of 6 to 9 feet tall, so you don't want to put them where they will block something else.

Step 3

Work the soil in your planting site by digging it and loosening it up to a depth of 3 inches. Once the soil is loose, add 1 inch of compost, available at any lawn and garden center. Take your shovel or rake and fold the compost into the soil, turning it over and over. Smooth out the top of the soil when you are finished.

Step 4

Set the hollyhock seeds onto the soil, spacing them 6 inches apart. Cover the seeds with an additional 1/4 inch of soil.

Step 5

Water the seeds with the shower setting on a garden hose, or a shower nozzle on the end of a watering can. Water the seeds daily until germination occurs.

Step 6

Thin the plants when they are 3 inches tall, increasing the space between them to between 18 and 36 inches apart.

Starting Seeds Indoors

Step 1

Start your hollyhock seeds indoors, eight weeks before the last expected frost date for your growing area.

Step 2

Place 2-inch plant pots on a plastic tray. Fill the pots with seed starter soil mix, and lay a hollyhock seed on top of the soil. Cover the seed with a 1/4 inch layer of additional soil.

Step 3

Water the seeds gently with a light spray bottle or a sport cap water bottle. If you pour water onto the seeds too quickly or with too much force, you can move the seed out of its planted location.

Step 4

Cover the seed pots with a sheet of clear plastic wrap, and set them in a bright, warm area. Keep an eye on the moisture level of the soil. During the germination process, you don't want the pots to dry out.

Step 5

Transplant the seedlings outdoors when there is no longer a danger of frost. The location should have full sun and well-drained soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • To avoid breakage of the stalks, you may need to give the hollyhock plants support as they grow, especially if they are in an area that experiences high wind.

Things You'll Need

  • Hollyhock seeds
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Compost
  • Garden hose or watering can with shower nozzle
  • Plastic tray
  • 2-inch plant pots
  • Seed starter soil mix


  • Planet Natural: Growing Hollyhocks
  • Garden Hobbies: How To Grow Hollyhocks

Who Can Help

  • North Dakota StateUniversity Extension: Questions on Hollyhocks
Keywords: planting hollyhock seeds, planting hollyhocks, starting hollyhock seeds

About this Author

A freelance writer for over 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.