How do hollyhocks grow next season? Do I cut then down now?
Hollyhocks. How do they grow next season? Does regrowth bloom every year? Do I cut down before winter or next early spring?
Stearns County Minnesota
Hollyhocks are generally considered biennials. This means plants grown from seed in the spring will not flower until the following year after which the plants die and new seed-grown plants take their place. Hollyhocks self seed readily so first year (non-blooming) and second year (blooming) plants are usually present in the growing area.
However, some mature plants will bloom a second or third year, performing more like short-lived perennials than biennials. Because the life span of an individual plant is unpredictable, it's best to be sure that first year plants are always present. Look for seedlings in the spring or early summer or plant seeds if there aren't any volunteers.
If you find clusters of leaves at the base of stalks that have bloomed, do not remove them because they indicate the plant may flower again next year. It's OK to remove the dead stalks. Flowering stalks that produce no leaves near their roots in autumn have probably finished their productive lives.
The dead flowering stalks may be cut down now or in the spring.