What are your recommendations for planting hollyhock seeds in the fall?


 I would like advice about planting hollyhock seeds this fall in Ogunquit. 


Lynne M. Holland, Horticulture and Social Media Professional

Hollyhocks can bring on conflicting directions as they can be perennial or biennial.

Old-fashioned varieties are biennial and produce a plant in year one and flower in year two then die.  This information from Cornell is pretty definitive on this.  Fall planting of heirloom, open-pollinated varieties needs to happen 2 months before the first killing frost so that the plant has time to germinate, grow and then it will bloom next year.  In Ogunquit, the first killing frost/freeze date for you is about October 21 so we are well past that time.

Newer varieties of Perennial Hollyhocks are often hardy, rust-resistant old fashioned tender perennials that bloom each year through self-seeding or because conditions are mild.  These are often sold as plants in the spring or winter seeded so they get a head start on growing the first year.  Technically it is a biennial plant so for the first bloom so it has to go through dormancy before it will bloom.

There is a way to plant seeds now and then have the plant ready for early planting.  Sewing them in a milk jug and letting that stay outside all winter is one option.  When you sow hollyhock you should soak the seed in warm water first for 12 hours and then lay it on the top of the soil to let the seed get light.

There are options with an old-fashioned garden favorite such as hollyhock, try experimenting and see which process suits your garden and gardening style.