The Facts about Deadhead Hollyhocks You should Know

The Facts about Deadhead Hollyhocks You should Know

How and When to do Deadhead Hollyhocks? Hollyhocks are classified as biennials, which implies that their lifespan is limited to only two years. However, if you have ever experienced having them in your garden before, you are aware that they will continue to return year after year. How does anything like that occur?

A close up horizontal image of hollyhocks growing in a flowerbed with a wooden fence in the background.

These plants have no problem spreading themselves by sending out their own seeds. Even though I wouldn’t call them invasive, they clearly have a high rate of reproduction if the right conditions are met.Learn more about this topic (and more!) by reading our comprehensive guide to cultivating hollyhocks.

Self-sowing is an important consideration that has to be taken into account if one is deciding whether or not to use deadheading. So let’s talk.

Is the use of Deadhead Hollyhocks required?

No, to put it simply. There is some debate as to whether or not deadheading your hollyhocks is essential. Your plants won’t need any help from you to produce flowers from the middle of summer until October; they’ll do it all on their own.
After they’re done flowering, they’ll spread their seeds before falling to the ground for the winter.

On the other hand, if you remove spent flowers from the plant, you stimulate it to produce a second wave of flowers later in the summer. In addition, if you remove the spent heads, you stop the plant from producing its own seeds. Depending on what you want to accomplish, that may either be a good or a bad thing for you.

A close up horizontal image of the seed pods forming on a hollyhock plant pictured on a soft focus background.

If you want your plants to keep coming back year after year, it’s best to avoid deadheading them too early. Therefore, deadheading is not absolutely necessary; however, if you time it correctly, it can be quite helpful.

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When to call in a Deadhead Hollyhocks?

There is not a predetermined amount of time during which you should be deadheading. Each plant and each climate present their own unique challenges.
Simply keeping an eye on your flowers is the key to success. When the petals begin to turn brown and look spent, you should cut the flower stalk all the way down to its base.
However! If you want your plants to produce their own offspring, you shouldn’t pull them out of the ground until all of the flowers have withered and the seeds have fallen from them. If you do not stop them, they will not be able to have more offspring.
A close up image of the inside of a hollyhock seed head pictured on a soft focus background.

Examine the tiny brown pods that are still present on the plant after the blossoms have withered away to determine whether or not the seeds have dropped. They have a hollow, cupped center that may or may not contain a cluster of black seeds, depending on the individual fruit.

If you can see the seeds but the remainder of the pod is completely dry and brown, you may give the plant a helping hand by removing the pod, scattering the seeds on the ground, or saving them to plant in another location if the pod is completely dry and brown.

How to Deadhead Hollyhocks

When you deadhead hollyhocks, the process is a little bit different from when you do the same task on peonies or another plant type that only produces a single bloom on each stalk. Each flower stalk has a multitude of flower heads, and the buds on those flower heads do not all open at the same time.

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If you want to keep a neat look while you wait for the top blooms to open, you may preserve it by pinching off the wasted blossoms, which often begin at the bottom of the stem. This will help you maintain a clean appearance.
On the other hand, this step is not required, and in my experience, it has never prompted the plant to produce a second round of blooms. It just has a lovely appearance.

A close up horizontal image of spent and dried hollyhock flowers growing in a border with a red fence in the background.

It is necessary to cut the whole blooming stalk off at the base after the majority of the blooms have passed their prime in order to stimulate a second cycle of blossoming on the same plant. This should be done when the majority of the flowers have died.

The blooms should be picked when only about a quarter of them are left at the top of the plant and the remainder are starting to look rather sorry for themselves.
Simply make a clean cut at the base of the plant using either a pair of scissors or pruners. During the next few days, you should notice a few new blooming stalks forming. You shouldn’t expect them to get as large or as tall as the ones that were there before, but you should still notice some new blooms.
Using this strategy will stop the seeds from spreading, but if you don’t remove the spent flowers from the plant, you could still obtain a few from the second set of blooms.

Getting Ready for the Colder Season

There is a difference between deadheading and cleaning up for the winter. You won’t get to watch another wave of flowers bloom.

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You must avoid cutting off the spent flowers on your plants if you want them to produce seed on their own. I know that ignoring the flower stems that are dying will make the garden look bad, but in the long run, it will be better.
When the stalks have reached the point where they seem to be somewhat ragged and the seed pods are empty (or largely empty), cut the stalk off at its base using a clean pair of pruners. Either before or after the foliage has died back, you may do this task. A cheerful display of Hollyhocks is a sight to behold.
A close up horizontal image of spent and dried hollyhock flowers pictured on a soft focus background.

It’s fairly difficult not to be amazed when you’re staring up at those towering stalks that are packed full of colorful blooms, isn’t it? When they are at their peaks of beauty, these traditional elements of the cottage garden are breathtaking.

But what happens when they lose their luster? The answer is no. You now know how to choose when to use them and how to spruce them up a little bit.
A close up horizontal image of a bed of beautiful hollyhock flowers with a residence in soft focus in the background.