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Hollyhocks

DonatraltoDonatralto Posts: 18

I planted my hollyhock seedlings in my garden border but they seem to be dying off now. I grew them from seed. Any advice?

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  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,893

    Did you wait until they were big plants in pots, little ones don't survive too well, I'm about to plant mine out that were grown begining of last year, if you get a big pot full of roots they stand better chance of survival and less prone to slug attack.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • DonatraltoDonatralto Posts: 18

    imageYeah I think that's it. Must have put them out too early!

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,893

    Oh yes, they would have been better kept in pots, and potted on as they got bigger, think of how you would buy a plant in the garden centre, probably filling a six inch pot.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • DonatraltoDonatralto Posts: 18

    Right then thanks. I'll get it right next year!

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 19,893

    You need great patience to grow perennials from seeds, to produce a good plant takes a couple of years, I grow everything from seeds and the sectret is forward planning, I'm now thinking of what I need in two years time.?

    You can grow some annuals in the meantime, not this year, but to bear in mind for the future.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • DonatraltoDonatralto Posts: 18

    Good advice thanks!

  • soulboysoulboy Posts: 429

    I wouldn't give up on the one in the picture or any that are similar as they are very resilient plants. Lyn's advice is sound as you're always going to get good, guaranteed results from planting a plant that's been potted on to a good size.

    However, I've always had great results from sowing hollyhocks from seed. Of course, it does depend on your location and garden conditions. Mine thrive in the well composted borders of my front garden but also do quite well in the clay of my back garden.

    They develop an extremely strong and robust root system. I've had a couple that have come back even after attempts to remove them by digging them out. The only problem I've had with them that is common is the leaves are affected by a fungus, but I just keep cropping the leaves and the flowers are still great.

    I would stake them early though. I had one that was about 4' tall succumb to yesterdays' strong winds. I didn't stake it because I thought it was reasonably sheltered.

  • DonatraltoDonatralto Posts: 18

    Thanks soulboy. So at what height would you recommend staking them?

  • soulboysoulboy Posts: 429

    If your hollyhocks are definitely in a very wind-sheltered spot as some of mine are, then I wouldn't bother. Elsewhere, there are two ways you could do it. The first is to put your stake(s) in when the plant is very young and low to the ground. or you could do it when they're about 2-3' tall.

    Bear in mind that they grow multiple large stems and branches and can be very wide, and to avoid damage to the roots, don't place the stakes too close to the plant. If you put your stakes in early this avoids any root damage and you can start with short stakes and replace them with taller ones in the same holes as the plant grows.

    I use bamboo canes from Wilko, which they sell in various sizes. You will need some of the tallest ones as a healthy hollyhock can easily reach 8'. I use rubberised wire and garden twine to secure the plants, both of which I buy from Poundland, but you can also get the former from B&M if you have any stores in your area. A rubber mallet is also useful for making sure the canes are firmly in the soil and I always wear gloves when putting the canes in. Bamboo splinters are painful!

    The rubberised wire goes around the stems and then I put the twine through the loop and just tie them to the canes. I don't tie the knots very tightly so that I can undo them and reuse the twine. As the plants get very tall you may want to attach them at various heights. When I have the plants next to fences or other structures I also tie them to those. I use the same methods for my sunflowers and dahlias.

    Finally, one of the problems with hollyhocks is that the weight of the stems and very large leaves make them splay out towards the ground as they get bigger, so staking them early on helps to keep them more compact, as well as protecting them from the elements. It also protects your nearby plants from damage and being shaded out.

  • DonatraltoDonatralto Posts: 18

    Sounds like excellent advice soulboy thanks.

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