Lots of people ask me when to sow hollyhock sees. As is the case with other plants – sometimes the choice has to be yours. So I sow sweet peas in October and over winter them. Other people choose to sow the year of flowering. I think sweet peas that have over wintered and experienced cold nights are stronger plants – but as with much you read online, this is just an opinion. What most people fail to add is four magic words for the social media age – I could be wrong.
In terms of hollyhock I sow many of mine in Sept/Oct so they germinate and then can overwinter in my polytunnel.
What do I suggest others do. Well it all depends on your circumstances really. I often get told that as nature is dispersing its seeds of hollyhocks now, why wouldn’t it be a good time to sow outside. Well my response if that if you take one plant for example. Ive taken over 2000 seeds off one in particular I want to propagate. It produces so many seeds as if left to the natural environment – with the vagaries of weather, pests, slugs having a munch etc – not many will make it to next year out of those seeds. That why we propagate and put things under cover etc – to get a higher success rate.
So I wouldn’t be sowing direct outside unless you were happy for many not to make it. If you are happy with this – then of course you can broadcast sow now.
If you are sowing undercover and can protect the young plants then sow now.
And then of course you can sow next year – though the issue of sowing next year is you are less likely to get flowers. A sowing of hollyhocks now means that you have a good chance of flowers within a 12 month period over two calendar years.
Hope this makes some sense. Ask in the comments if there is anything that doesn’t. This is just how I do it. Others may have different techniques that work for their garden and climate👍🏻