Hollyhocks are popular in gardens across the globe because of their bright-colored flowers and self-seeding nature. If you’ve planted a hollyhock (recently or a long time ago) and it still hasn’t flowered, you might wonder why that is and what you can do to fix it.
Hollyhocks won’t flower if the plants are too young or receive too much or too little water. They may also fail to bloom if they receive too much fertilizer. You must figure out the underlying issue if your hollyhock doesn’t flower. In most cases, you must wait a year for it to flower.
Knowing what to do if your hollyhock won’t flower is vital, and this article will discuss this topic in much more detail. So, keep reading to learn the most essential information to help you get to the root of the problem!
Why Isn’t Your Hollyhock Blooming?
To find out how to fix the problem, it’s good to consider all the possible causes. In this section, I’ll discuss the most common reasons why your hollyhock might not be blooming. Then, I’ll discuss a solution for each cause.
Read below to learn everything you need to know.
The Hollyhock Is Too Young
You must understand that not all hollyhocks bloom in their first year. You might notice some stem and foliage growth, but flowers don’t always form until the second year. Thankfully, this is normal and nothing to worry about. So if you only recently planted your hollyhock, it’s likely too young to flower.
If you feel you’ve been taking good care of your hollyhock (i.e., giving it enough water and sunlight), there’s likely nothing wrong with it, and it simply needs some time to grow and establish itself. Once the second year comes around, you should notice flowers and, eventually, more seeds on the stems.
What to Do
Unfortunately, you cannot do much if your hollyhock is too young to bloom. In this instance, patience is vital because you must wait until next year. Continue maintaining the plant, ensuring it is hydrated, and keeping the soil rich at all times.
Once the plant remains healthy for its first year, it should create beautiful, vibrant blooms later on.
The Hollyhock Is Dehydrated
If your hollyhock is past its first year, there is likely a different issue at play. One such issue could be a lack of water, leading to dehydration (although this is unlikely to occur in hollyhocks, it’s not unheard of).
Hollyhocks need water to survive and bloom, so lacking it will cause significant issues. During the growing season, you should water the plant every week (especially if the weather is arid and hot).
Even though hollyhocks are relatively drought-tolerant, they can become dehydrated over time. Without enough water, the plants don’t have enough energy to support blooms, meaning they’re less likely to occur.
Other signs of dehydration in a hollyhock may include:
- Drooping leaves
- Yellow leaves (while yellow leaves can indicate dehydration, they can also indicate other issues)
- Crispy leaves
It’s also essential to water your hollyhock enough before it’s established so that it can grow into an adult plant healthily.
What to Do
If you suspect dehydration could be why your hollyhock isn’t blooming, water it more frequently to rehydrate it. Remove any leaves or plant parts that appear too damaged (like leaves that are highly crispy or discolored). Afterward, you should be left with the healthiest leaves and stalks.
When watering the hollyhock, aim the water directly at the soil. Applying water to the plant and leaves will create a moist environment, perfect for fungal growth. You certainly want to avoid that, so always go for the soil around the root area!
Additionally, the best time to water hollyhocks and most plants is in the morning because they have the entire day to dry–this reduces the risk of fungal diseases like root rot and rust, a common problem with hollyhocks.
The Hollyhock Is Receiving Too Much Water
Too little water is one issue, but too much water is another problem! Although it’s good to water hollyhocks once the soil is dry, you mustn’t overwater them because the earth can quickly become waterlogged, and other issues may occur.
If the plant receives too much water, it can damage the roots, making it more challenging for them to support the rest of the plant. As you may know, the roots are essential because they keep the rest of the hollyhock plant thriving and blooming. So as soon as the roots are compromised, everything else is, too.
As a result, a hollyhock that receives too much water might not flower very much (or at all). Roots that are wet for long periods are also more susceptible to root rot, which can be detrimental to plant health if not treated early. Make sure you’re not overwatering your hollyhock plant because it can cause serious harm to it and lead to the spread of fungal disease.
Other than a lack of flowers, other signs of too much water in a hollyhock include:
- Droopy leaves
- Mushy, soft leaves
- Discolored leaves
- Stunted growth
What to Do
If you suspect overwatering to be the culprit, you first must check the soil to see if it feels wet. If you can clearly feel that it’s too wet, stop watering the plant immediately and let the soil dry completely. If there is water damage (i.e., damaged leaves), remove the affected plant leaves and keep them out of direct sunlight for a while so that they can recover.
You should only apply water and give it full/partial sun once the soil has completely dried and the plant appears to be recovered. Then, you may also notice flowering.
The Soil Isn’t Appropriate
Another thing to consider is the soil’s condition. Hollyhocks can grow in various soil conditions, but you must ensure it’s well-draining and not too dry. Some moisture in the soil is beneficial, but you also want to ensure it’s not too damp or clay-like.
You might notice that your soil is particularly hard. Or, maybe it’s the opposite. Whatever the case, always aim for well-drained, fertile soil allowing roots to grow quickly.
What to Do
If the soil isn’t suitable, you may need to amend it.
Soil amendments include:
- Grass clippings
- Peat moss
If the soil is too hard and clay-like, the roots won’t be able to grow and spread easily, which could affect the rest of the plant’s growth (including the flowers).
On the other hand, the soil might be too dry and loose, meaning water doesn’t get absorbed as well as it should. As you can imagine, this can also lead to plant issues and may prevent flowers from growing from your hollyhock.
If the soil is causing your problems, use a soil amendment to break it up and add nutrients and fertility. That way, hollyhocks (and other plants) can grow more efficiently, and you can enjoy their fresh blooms each summer.
Too Much Fertilizer
Fertilizer is generally good for hollyhocks and other plants because it gives them vital nutrients, including nitrogen and potassium. However, it’s easy to over-fertilize plants, leading to various issues down the line.
One problem with over-fertilization is that it can give you the opposite results of what you’re looking for. Instead of promoting blooming, too much fertilizer can slow your plant’s growth and even cause permanent damage.
So if you’ve been using fertilizer, think about how much you used and whether or not it was the appropriate mixture for hollyhocks. After all, this could be why your hollyhock isn’t flowering!
What to Do
If you suspect too much fertilizer to be the issue, it may be difficult to fully rectify the mistake. Firstly, removing the plant from the soil is good.
Rinsing the roots thoroughly with water to eliminate excess fertilizer is another helpful solution. Watering the ground to flush away as much fertilizer as possible is also smart. This is easier if your plant is potted because most pots contain drainage holes.
Once that’s all done, replant the hollyhock and give it time to recover. If some leaves appear damaged from over-fertilization, cut them off to allow space for healthier growth. Where there is still time left in the growing season, you may notice flowers coming in soon after leaching the soil!
Avoid applying more fertilizer to the soil, as you may cause more over-fertilization.
The Hollyhock Isn’t Receiving Enough Sunlight
Sunlight is vital to plant life, so a hollyhock needs plenty to flower. Without UV rays, it’s unlikely to bloom very much. And if it does bloom, there won’t be many flowers.
Sunlight, water, and oxygen give hollyhocks the energy to support their blooms. Keeping it hidden in the shade all day is a sure way to prevent flowers from growing, so avoid that at all costs.
What to Do
Always plant your hollyhocks in places with plenty of sunlight during the day. They prefer full sun, so aim to give them 6-8 hours of sunlight daily for the best results. If your plant is currently in a shaded spot, consider replanting it in a better area to fully benefit from the UV rays.
If your hollyhock is established, healthy, and receiving enough sunlight each day, it should begin to flower in no time.
The Hollyhock Can No Longer Bloom
I mentioned earlier that hollyhocks are unlikely to bloom in their first year because it can often take a year for them to become established. However, they may also stop blooming if they’re more than two years old because they generally don’t live very long.
So, if you’ve had your hollyhock for a few years and are noticing that it’s failing to bloom this year, it’s likely too old, and you should start over with a new plant. These plants generally last two years but sometimes live up to four.
What to Do
Unfortunately, you cannot do much if your hollyhock has run its course. However, you can plant new plants in their place and allow them to self-seed so that you’ll constantly have a fresh supply of hollyhocks.
Remove the old hollyhock from the soil and plant new seeds once the time is right. Sometimes, starting over is the best thing you can do because it gives you a chance to start fresh.
Old Flowers Need to Make Room for Newer Flowers
Some hollyhock flowers may begin to wilt and die, which can take up space for newer flowers. As a result, your plant may look like it’s stopped blooming. But in reality, you just need to remove some flowers to make room for healthier ones. This is only the case if it’s not too late in the season.
For example, new flowers are unlikely to grow if fall is fast approaching. But if it’s mid-summer and you’re noticing a lot of the flowers are wilting, consider cutting them off and harvesting any seeds to allow new flowers to grow for the rest of the growing season.
What to Do
As I mentioned above, the best thing to do is to cut away old flowers to allow new ones to come in. That way, you should notice fresh blooms that will brighten the plant in a few weeks.
If there are any seed pods available, it’s good to harvest these, as you can plant them in a different spot later in the year.
The Space Is Too Crowded
Overcrowding can often cause issues for plants. When overcrowding occurs, all plants in the area must compete for nutrients, meaning each plant is more likely to lack nutrients and water. As a result, they can’t grow, thrive, and bloom as much as they should, which could affect your hollyhock.
It’s likely that the other plants in the area are also experiencing issues with growth and blooms if they’re overcrowded, so pay attention to how they look. Diseases can spread easier when there is overcrowding, so ensure there are no signs of rust or other fungal issues.
What to Do
Check that there are at least 2 inches (5.08 cm) between each hollyhock plant. If there isn’t, your plants are overcrowded and likely not receiving enough nutrients. Their roots might also not have enough space to grow. All of this is likely to be why you aren’t noticing any flowers this year.
Consider removing some plants to free up some space. Once the remaining plants have enough room to grow, they should show signs of improvement. Eventually, they should be healthy enough to start blooming again.
How Long Does It Take for Hollyhocks to Bloom?
It can take a year for hollyhocks to bloom if planted later in the year (like May or June). However, it may only take a few months for hollyhocks to bloom if planted earlier in the year (like March) because they’ll have more time to establish themselves before the growing season begins.
So, it all depends on when you plant them. You can also plant hollyhocks around October or November. In this instance, you should notice the first bloom the following summer, meaning you likely won’t have to wait an entire year for flowering.
It’s almost always a guarantee that you must wait a year to see any flowering if you plant your hollyhock seeds in the spring or early summer, so don’t be worried if you planted during this time and haven’t noticed flowers in the first year.
How Long Do Hollyhocks Flower For?
Hollyhocks usually flower from June until August, but you may notice the first signs of flowering in May. So, you can expect approximately three months of flowering from a hollyhock plant. To maximize the length of time flowering occurs, be sure to maintain your plant regularly and cut off any dead flowers to allow new ones to come in.
For more information, check out my article discussing what you should do after a hollyhock flowers.
If you want to enjoy hollyhock blooms year after year without doing much work, allow the flowers to turn into seeds over the summer. Eventually, the seeds will fall off and disperse across the soil, and you should notice new hollyhock plants each year. It’s an effortless way to have blooming plants in your garden consistently.
Can Hollyhocks Flower in Winter?
Hollyhocks don’t flower in winter because the weather is too cold, and there generally isn’t enough sunlight for them to bloom. Instead, they die back during this season, so you must wait until summer for them to grow flowers again.
It’s good to cut hollyhocks back before winter begins, which can make way for new growth to come through the following growing season.
Hollyhocks generally flower in their second year of growth. So if yours has only recently been planted, it likely needs more time to become established. However, if you planted it last year and it still isn’t flowering, another issue might be at play.
Too much or too little water can cause a hollyhock to stop blooming, so ensure it’s getting enough/not receiving too much hydration. Too much fertilizer or inappropriate soil conditions can also cause hollyhock issues, so ensure the environment is appropriate.
Hollyhocks only last a few years, so they’ll stop blooming eventually.
Once your hollyhocks start blooming, you can focus your attention on other issues, such as controlling their enormous heights!