Fast-growing miniature hollyhocks are a smaller version of your grandmother's indestructible flowering hollyhocks. The miniature hollyhocks in your garden or nursery may be the classic prairie mallow species Sildacea malviflora or a modern nursery-born hybrid such as Sildacea malviflora "Brilliant." This tough little showpiece makes a great border or potted outdoor plant, especially when planted in bunches. Pruning miniature hollyhocks encourages both a prolonged bloom time and healthy growth the following year.
Miniature hollyhocks are in the perennial Sidalcea genus; the most commonly sold cultivar is the "Brilliant" varietal. These "minatures" grow to be 30 to 32 inches tall, with beautiful five-petaled flowers, each about 1 inch wide. The original hollyhock stock can grow to be as much as 10 to 15 feet tall. Miniature hollyhocks are hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9, meaning they'll survive winter temperatures as low as -30 degrees.
Bloom Time for Miniature Hollyhocks
Selective pruning of miniature hollyhocks encourages prolonged bloom times. Miniature hollyhocks can easily bloom for two to three months in early to midsummer with the proper care. As the flower spikes on your miniature hollyhocks fade, remove them with pruning shears by cutting them off at the base. This will encourage the production of new flowers, allowing your mini hollyhocks to grace the garden for months, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds all season long.
Cutting Back Miniature Hollyhocks
Cut your miniature hollyhocks back sharply in the early fall. As soon as flowering ends, cut the growth to the ground with loppers or shears. Cutting back your miniature hollyhocks in the fall encourages a healthy, vigorous growth of new foliage the following spring.
Yearly Care of Miniature Hollyhocks
Pruning isn't the only tool in the gardener's toolkit to ensure the health of your hollyhocks. Watering your mini hollyhocks once a week during the growing season will help keep them fresh and flowering. However, cease watering after you cut them to the ground in the fall. You can also fertilize your hollyhocks at the roots once a year with a balanced fertilizer, but do not allow the fertilizer to touch the leaves. Fertilize in early spring, after your cut-back minis begin to show signs of growth. Feeding more often or using a fertilizer high in nitrogen can result in ultra-fast, leggy growth that creates spindly, sparse flower stalks that will need pruning more often.