The botanical name of Hollyhock plant is Alcea rosea. The Hollyhock plant is a charming, old-fashioned plant that can easily decorates the landscape with tall, spiky blooms from summer until early autumn. The hollyhock plant seeds are often planted directly in the garden, although you can get an early start by planting the hollyhock seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last average frost date in your area. The hollyhock plant is a bi-annual plant that doesn't bloom until the second year. The flower grows in USDA plant hardiness zones three through nine.


Growing hollyhocks from seed indoors

Planting preparation: The Hollyhock plant seeds germinate well in two to three inches pots or a celled planting tray that is filled with regular commercial potting mix. Actually, any type of pot is appropriate as long as it has a drainage hole in the bottom; the Hollyhock plant seeds will not germinate in a poorly drained soil. To moisten the potting mix you can carefully place the pots in a tray of water and then let the water absorb through the drainage hole until the pot is evenly moist.

Sowing the Hollyhock seeds: The Hollyhock plant seeds will actually rot in wet, soggy conditions. You can easily set the pot aside to drain for some few hours until the potting mix is lightly moist but not soggy. Also, the hollyhock plant seeds will not germinate if they are planted too deeply because the seeds actually require light to germinate. Press 2 or 3 Hollyhock seeds onto the surface of the moist potting mix, and then cover the Hollyhock seeds with about ¼ inch of potting mix. 


Successful seeds germination: The Hollyhock plant seeds benefit from a warm, moist environment. This can actually be accomplished by covering the pot with a plastic wrap or a clear plastic bag. The Hollyhock plant seeds will germinate best in indirect light and normal room temperatures. Though the plastic will keep the potting soil moist for several weeks, make sure you check the pots often until the Hollyhock seeds germinate. Mist the potting soil lightly if necessary and don’t ever allow it to become either soggy or bone dry. The seeds germination usually occurs in 2 to 3 weeks. 

Caring for Hollyhock seedlings: The Hollyhocks are actually ready to be move to three to four inches pots when the seedlings are about two to three inches tall and they have at least one set of true leaves (the leaves that emerge after the tiny germination leaves). You need to select the healthiest seedling in each pot, and then pinch the stems of the weaker seedlings. Uncover the pots and then remove each of the seedling with a spoon or stick, working carefully to avoid stress to the roots. Transplant the Hollyhocks seedlings into small pots filled with potting mixture. Actually, indirect light is best for the Hollyhocks seedlings, which could be scorched by bright, direct light. Make sure you continue to keep the potting mixture lightly moist.

Moving Hollyhock seedlings outdoors: The Hollyhock seedlings should be allowed to mature indoors until you are really sure all danger of frost has passed. At that point, it is vital to harden off the Hollyhock seedlings so they safely become accustomed to the cooler outdoor air. You can begin by placing the pots in a shady area for about 2 to 3 hours per day for about a week. For the 2nd week, increase the time outdoors by an hour or so every day as you gradually move the Hollyhock seedlings into brighter light. At the end of the 2nd week, the plants are ready for their permanent home in rich, well-drained soil and full sunlight or light shade. After planting them, you can feed the plants with a dilute mixture of balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio such as 12-12-12. Mix the solution at a rate of about one to two teaspoons per gallon of water.

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