Tall, stately hollyhocks add color to late summer and early fall gardens. Reaching 5 feet or more in height, they are striking planted along borders or as a backdrop in flower beds. The flowers are produced along the length of the tall flower stalk, with varieties available in a range of colors. Plant hollyhock seeds inside and transplant them to the garden bed once all danger of frost has passed in spring. While hollyhocks are a short-lived perennial, they are usually replanted every two years to ensure large and healthy plants.
Fill individual seed-starting pots with a quality potting mix. Place one to two seeds in each pot, planting them to a 1/4-inch depth.
Mist the soil in the pot with water until it is moist, then cover the pot with a plastic bag to retain the moisture during germination. Place the pots in a warm, 72-degree F room to germinate. Germination takes seven to 10 days on average.
Remove the plastic bag once the seeds sprout and move the hollyhocks to a brightly lit window in a warm room. Keep the soil moist at all times.
Lay a 3-inch layer of compost over a full-sun garden bed once all danger of frost has passed in spring. Till the compost into the top 8 to 10 inches of garden bed.
Plant the hollyhocks in the prepared bed at the same depth they were at in their seedling pots. Space the plants 18 to 24 inches apart on all sides.
Water thoroughly after planting so any air pockets in the soil around the roots collapse. Provide 1 to 2 inches of water to the bed a week. Use more water if necessary during dry periods, as the bed should remain evenly moist at all times.