Hollyhocks Personal Experience Patricia Russell 2007-2008
Over 60 varieties have
been established from white to black and a multitude of colors in between.
Some are very tall 12 feet and the miniature varieties 1-2 feet. After trading and collecting from
around the world it is safe to say we have about 78+ different (Nigra, Black
Watchman, Donkerhardt, Indian Summer, Chater’s Doubles, King Henry VIII, Malva
Zebrinia, White, Yellow, Peach, Burgundy, Red & others), but not all
varieties will grow in our zone. They are Annuals, Biennials & Perennials.
They all are pretty much "self
seeding". What this means is each plan produces many seeds an by simply
tossing them on the ground,
they propagate by themselves. If you look closely at a flower, after it blooms
as it shrivels and falls away a circular seed pod is left, once it is dry it
will turn beige and will be filled with seeds.
There are anywhere from 9-35 seeds inside each pod. Each stock has a
large number of blossoms. So, in reality, you will end up with thousands of
seeds for saving, replanting, trading or even selling. I mention tall varieties
& miniature, in my experience of propagating indoors. Some of the miniatures I found to be a little
more temperamental or more of a challenge to grow than, tall varieties. Just
have fun with them!
Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
to 8% - (for faster seed
germination) that little brown bottle we find in the grocery store or in
pharmacy. If you have found in the past that some seeds are a little more
stubborn sprouting then others, try this. Take a napkin, a few of your dry
fresh seeds, 3% hydrogen peroxide an a small container with a lid. Place seeds
inside the napkin, put napkin inside your small container, pour hydrogen
peroxide covering them "full strength" covering napkin and all the
seeds. Cover the container, put in a dark place and let it set 48-72 hours. If
you check inside the container periodically you may find the seeds are bubbling.
This is normal it’s stimulating their growth. Sometimes it may take a little
longer, if you don't see any little sprouts don't panic give them a more time.
What you’ll see are little white curved sprouts coming from them, that's what
you want. If you‘ve some old seats and are just testing to see if you can get
them to sprout and they don't after a few days, this process may not work for
them nor any other. Once they have little tiny sprouts then place them in a
sealed baggie without the hydrogen peroxide. Same process put
them away for a day or so and then check their progress. Once your seeds sprout
that will give them a good start. Then
you can transfer them into some dirt. A couple things I found about propagating
indoors in containers, the seeds don't like rocks or objects in their growing
medium. So, using peat pods, or trays
with covered domes and soil, make sure your soil is fine an only cover them
1/8th inch with soil. Personally I've found "organic" soil to work
best, but you choose. Remember is your propagating the seeds are happiest if
they are moist, not soggy drowning in water. We do start new ones in our
hydroponic garden before putting outside. But, you can start them outdoors, you
Tra nsplanting - When hollyhocks are small they do not want to be
their roots to be disturbed so wait till they have at least three leaves before
changing to a larger container size. When starting seedlings inside, until they’re
strong enough before putting outside, if the first sprout leaf makes a very
tall stock and its container, you can add dirt around to support it until it's
large enough to transfer. Once a plant is a year old they’ll transplant if you
want to move them to a new location just remember they don’t like to have their
roots disturbed as some go 30” into the ground. Just best not to, but be warned
if you transplant and it dies don’t cry (sometimes transplanting will make them
wilt, but don’t give up, just water and keep hoping)
Rusts - No.... I’m
not talking about water & metal what happens...I'm talking about the very
common disease that plagues hollyhocks (and there are many kinds of rust not
just one). You’ll find many resources on-line, they’re free to read about Rust
and how to prevent or to keep it under control. I don't recommend any
product. It is certainly your choice
what you use if you use any chemicals on your hollyhocks at all. I cut off any
leaf that looks like "rust" immediately and dispose of it & in
addition to that I spray a product called "Polysul Summer & Dormant
Spay Concentrate" it is “Lime-Sulfur Fungicide”, manufacture - Lilly
Miller Brands. Again, you need to decide if you want to use chemicals. Rust is
a fungus that is airborne that will spread to other plants if leaves are close
or touching. Neverput your leaves if they are infected with Rust
in your compost pile. If you do, then
you’ll be spreading "Rust" to where ever you use your compost.
Insect Control - Yes, hollyhock leaves are tasty to bugs. I don't like using pesticides. So, I choose to make my own spray to prevent
their infestations. My Recipe -
In a blender..after removing skin I chop 1 whole Onion (yellow/white); + 2 tblsp
red powdered Cayenne Pepper; + 3 tablespoons powdered garlic OR eight peeled
fresh cloves of Garlic + 5 cups water. Puree mixture, and pour into bowl an
cover. Let set, 24 hours. This gives the liquid time to absorb all the flavors.
It’ll smell bad, it's supposed to so don't worry about it. (if the smell
bothers you..place in a cupboard or closet where it will not be disturbed) OR
If the smell bothers you refrigerate it. Remove contents pouring into a
strainer with the napkin so you filter the chunks an only have the liquid for
your spray-pour liquid into a sprayer.
That's what I do. If you don't use it all store it in the refrigerator.
I spray approximately once a week or so. (Again, if you choose not to use
anything on your holly’s that is totally your choice).
Remember when they are done
blooming and you have harvested the seed pods cut them all the way to the