problem growing hollyhock from seeds, need advise and help

littleonefbJuly 14, 2005

I WS several types of hollyhock seeds a year ago. they germinated and grew several sets of leaves last summer into fall. They survived this past winter, came up and have several sets of leaves, but no stems or any sign of blooms this year. They are about 4-6 inches tall. I WS more hollyhock seeds this past winter, including summer carnival seeds that are supposed to bloom the first year. They are no bigger than last years plants and they have no sign of any stems to flower this year either. They are planted in full sun (at least 6-8 hours of sunlight). I'm ready to give up on growing any hollyhocks from seed. Anyone have any idea what, if anything I'm doing wrong? Seeds where from trades and commercial packs. Commercial packs included double black, nigra, indian spring mix and summer carnival, trades where several different colors and russian hollyhock. I had good germination, just nothing to bloom.

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You should've had huge plants this year. Are they still in their containers? I'm assuming you planted them in the ground last summer. Were they too long in the WS containers? Maybe it's your soil. Where are they planted? They have a big taproot that needs loose soil. Has the area been near paint, preservative or weed killers? Have you fertilized? Could be lots of reasons. Did you plant them at the level of their crowns?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 5:58PM
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Could rabbits be eating the flower stalks? Just an idea. Don't know much about it, but they eat some of my flowers (don't have hollyhocks yet).

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 10:51PM
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i would'n worry about the hollyhocks, they will bloom just make sure they have full sun,food and water. Some treat hollyhocks as bineal plants, but they are like perenial in my garden. just cut the finish flowers stalk down to grown level they will regrow again.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 10:19PM
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OK, here's what is and has been going on. Last years WS hollyhocks were put in the ground the last week of May. Had good root systems but didn't notice any taproot when I planted them. Plenty of room and loose soil and have been well fertilized. They are 6 inches tall and some of the bottom leaves are turning yellow and dying. They are planted infront of a chain link fence and infront of my house. No chemicals, paint, paint preservers or pesticides.
Only use pesticide on that nasty poison ivy. A few of the leaves have been chewed by some kind of bug, but have seen nothing on them. Rabbits aren't eating any stems as there have been none formed. I planted them at the level they were growing from seed. The soil was ammended with plenty of good peat and miracle grow garden soil. This years WS seedlings are planted in the same areas and another area that gets about 10 hours of sun. Again all the above conditions are the same. They were planted in the ground the end of May also. Some of the seedlings are russian hollyhock, and summer carnival that bloom the first year and there is no sign as of this afternoon of any stems and they are about the same hight as last years. Fertilized them today to see if that makes any difference. haven't even seen a rabbit this year, but last year was invasion of the chipmunks, they ate everything they could get their mouths on. Don't think any of them will bloom.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 9:00PM
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I did the same thing, WS then planted and they have never done anything. About 4 leaves and nothing. They are not being eaten. Not growing. Mint

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 10:05AM
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Loretta NJ Z6

Let them be. They will grow. Some of mine took three years but they were wonderful and lived several years.
As far as the yellowing leaves, there is a good chance that is rust. My hollyhocks get it. It makes the plant unsightly but doesn't kill it and the flowers will still come. Last year, I sprayed my hollyhocks with mancozeb and that worked very well. I didn't spray again this year and it came back. So if you want nice hollyhocks, you might consider they are a lot like roses and might need spraying to look their best though I didn't find they needed it all season.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 9:27AM
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your hollyhocks probably are semi-dormant right now because of the heat and tranplant shock! they don't show any new grow on the top, but they are slowly establishing their roots. they do well when the weather start to cool down, i noticed mine hollyhock do best in fall and spring weather. hollyhock succeptable to spider mice, leave miner and rust, so keep an eye on them especially in hot temp-, best regard tuanh.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 3:13PM
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tunah, thanks for the info, they keep growing new leaves and a few of the very bottom ones turn yellow and fall off.
Have had a few leaves being chewed by oriental beetles but will be patient and wait to see what happens.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 8:35PM
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happyhoe(z6 OH)

Your problem with Summer Carnival has to do with the fact you winter sowed them. Annual HH's need to be up and actively growing by February or early March. Which means they have to be grown indoors. If they don't get an early start the behave like biennials or you may get flowers in fall. You have to read the germination instructions carefull and some seed companies don't include this factoid.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 5:35PM
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Perhaps my success was due to ignorance, but toward the end of the summer about 2 summers ago, I wanted to try my luck with hollyhock ford chatam seeds. I really wasn't sure what would happen, so I sprinkled some of the seeds in rich organic soil. To my surprise they germinated, overwintered and flowered for me the second year..about a foot tall, but definitely not impressive. This year they came back taller than me, over 5'6" with lovely pink double flowers that the japanese beetles loved unfortunately! I'm not sure to what to owe my success, except maybe it was the variety that I chose along with heavy mulching in the fall. They stood in dappled sun from nearby leylands, facing southwest, and recieved no fertilizer.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 7:18PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

Like minibite says.
The hollyhocks that have bloomed the second year for me, all singles btw, have not shown their true potential. I might have pulled them out then. They also bloomed later in the season. They are blooming now while my older plants are done. Wait. You have plants, you will have flowers.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 10:34PM
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slwilson73(9/Sunset 17 CA)

Hey, my hollyhocks are doing the *exact* same thing! They don't die, but they don't grow either--they've gone from about 4 inches to 7 inches in an entire Northern California summer (stuff usually grows fast here) and never come close to producing a flower-stalk. The bottom leaves turn yellow and shrivel die, the rest of the leaves look ok. So I have no advice, just wanted to say I share your pain.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 4:17AM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

I almost hate to admit it, but mine have done great. I started most of them indoors, mostly the first week of March. They were under lights 24x7. Then they went out to the coldframes mid-late April and into the ground sometime in late May. The plants are HUGE, approx 24-30 inches across and the same height. I even dug up many of them and moved them in July when we were in a stretch of 90+ degree days. The leaves wilted for a couple of days and I clipped a lot of them off. I watered a LOT and like I said, they are huge. I wish I knew a secret to pass on but I don't, unless they actually liked the abuse of being moved in that hot nasty weather. I did winter sow a few but didn't have nearly as good of luck with them as with the ones started indoors.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 11:41PM
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When our temperatures are in the upper '80's, it's a cool spell so that may explain why I've had no trouble winter sowing hollyhocks. My problem is the RABBITS who leave only what looks like a child's drawing of stick people. After a 2-year hiatus, I'm going to try hollyhocks against a wood fence next spring. Rabbits beware!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 2:17PM
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Littleone, you said you use herbicide on that nasty poison ivy. That will retard the growth of any plant if it runs down into the soil orif the spray drifts onto the plants or soil. I can't help but think this is the problem. Maybe not.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 11:16AM
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I really think that a lot of the problem this year is the heat--I have noticed that a LOT of my plants aren't living up to their potential this season, and I'm getting nothing for seed pods on alot of them, especially perennials. I think they are just practicing their version of 'self preservation' and conserving their energy for the cooler weather. Now, if we choose to ignore the predictions for next summer, we can naively hope that next year will be much better and that we can look forward to fabulous blooms then!!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 12:11AM
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dollladie(5 Indiana)

Is it too late to direct sow hollyhock seeds this year? Also, should I expect blooms this year or next?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 1:40PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

No, it's not too late. Expect blooms next year or the year after.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 7:31PM
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... it's been a few years now, but i'd like to know, did they ever bloom? i planted summer carnival last year in april, and they just sit around in big rosettes and don't do anything. i got worried because everyone keeps saying they grow to several feet tall but mine have practically no stem at all.

recently i read on the internet that they're supposed to do that in the first year but take off after winter, and then i got even more worried because i live in a tropical area with no obvious cold season. so how did yours turn out, in the end?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 1:20AM
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I live in a very rural area and this is how I keep the bunnies from eating my plants. Stack two or three tires up, put about 12 crushed soda cans in the bottom (provides air space) then put dirt and hay in alternating stacks till you reach the top. Plant seeds or plants and water. The tires hold the water in. This keeps the plants safe because bunnies don't climb! Also great for tomatoes and bean vines.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 12:57PM
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This is my first year to grow them. Mine look terrible. The leaves have yellow spots on them. Then the leaves die. Maybe I am over watering them?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 6:11PM
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I planted a Hollyhock from a friend's garden this past winter. It was only five or six inches tall, and I probably made many mistakes. I put it in a northern exposure area, in questionable soil. I watered it faithfully, and fed it, and being in So. Cal., it got great sunlight even on that side of the house. It actually surprised me how lovely and tall it grew, and I enjoyed it for months. I just finished the last of the harvesting of seeds, and cut the stock down as many suggested. I will be moving this winter and wonder what advice you all have for how soon and where I plant the seeds. I have a picture of it if anyone wants to see how it did look in full bloom.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 1:10PM
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gnomey(7b SC zip296)

My hollyhock seedlings have been attacked by leaf miners!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 5:03AM
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I wintersowed dwarf hollyhocks, mixed colors this year. I did not start them until April 7th. They are now blossoming. This variety is known to blossom the first year.

A lot of other hollyhocks are biennials. They will blossom the second year. A lot of things can happen to hollyhock though.

Some of my stands of hollyhock are having a difficult time with all the rain. I have rust setting in. I am busy amending all the beds with corn meal as well as the usual applications of manure. I am spraying them and cutting off the badly infected leaves. The clean up will have to be really good this year as well.

I recall hollyhocks of my childhood as being a lot more carefree. They came back every year and seemed to do quite well!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 9:08AM
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