Culinary note: try crystallising the flowers for a tasty cake decoration, or use them to make a delicately flavoured syrup to use with puddings. For more details about edible flowers click here.
Sow Hollyhock seed from February to July on the surface of a good seed compost, and cover with a light sprinkling of compost of vermiculite. Place in a propagator at a temperature of 15-21C (59-70F) or seal the seed tray inside a polythene bag until after germination, which usually takes 14- 21 days. Do not exclude light, as this helps germination.
When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3") pots and grow on in cooler conditions. When Hollyhock plants are well grown and all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting outdoors. Grow Hollyhocks in full sun in any fertile, well drained soil. Choose a position that is sheltered from strong winds. Space hollyhock plants at least 60cm (24") apart to improve air circulation and help prevent hollyhock rust.
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