Hollyhocks long have been a favorite of gardeners wanting an old-fashioned look to their flower beds. You may choose from a wide variety of hollyhocks, dwarf to tall, single or double blooms. Most hollyhocks are biennial, meaning they bloom every other year. Fortunately, you can get a head start by planting your hollyhock seeds in the fall.
Buy your hollyhock seeds, or harvest them from the dried seed pods of spent blooms on established plants. If you look around, you may notice hollyhocks in the garden of your neighbor, friends or family. Ask if you can harvest the seed pods in late summer or early fall.
Select the location you want your hollyhocks to grow. It should be a sunny spot with good, loamy soil that drains well, though hollyhocks are not picky and can grow in almost any type of soil. Because of the height of hollyhocks, it is better to select a location for them that is out of the wind, so you do not need to stake them later to keep them upright.
Sow your hollyhock seeds by lightly broadcasting them on top of the soil. Hollyhocks do not need much soil coverage to germinate. Simply using your foot to gently push them into the soil will be deep enough. Sow your hollyhocks at least one to two months before the first frost usually arrives. This gives the seeds time to germinate and establish roots and energy for next year's blooms.
Cover your young hollyhock plants with mulch of dried leaves and grass clippings after the first frost. As cold weather progresses, continue to add mulch and finally clean straw to protect the plants over winter.
Remove the straw and mulch from your hollyhock plants in the early spring after the last hard frost. By sowing your hollyhock seeds last fall and starting young hollyhock plants then, you have a better chance of your hollyhocks blooming later in the summer than if you had waited to sow seed in the early spring.