Hollyhocks Aren't Blooming

Flowers are the main attraction for Hollyhocks. This easy-care perennial is known for its tall stalk that will be covered in lovely single or double blooms during the spring and summer. Some cultivars of Alcea do not bloom during their first growing season, but you should expect flowers starting in the second year. An established Hollyhock plant without flowers is disappointing but also easy to resolve. If your Hollyhock is not flowering or the buds are not opening, here is what you need to know.


Common Reasons Why Hollyhocks Aren’t Blooming

  1. New plants

Hollyhocks do not always bloom during their first growing season. The stalk and foliage will grow, but the plant will not set flowers. This is normal and allows the plant to store energy for a spectacular display the following growing season.

  1. Pruning

Flowers bloom at the base of the stalk and open in ascending order, with the flowers at the top of the stalk opening last. Deadheading will encourage the next round of flowers to open more quickly, but pruning the stalk will prevent any remaining buds from opening.

  1. Sunlight

Hollyhocks are fast growers, and this perennial needs bright light. Plants grown in partial light or shade may not get as tall or set flowers. Move the plants to a sunny spot if you suspect lack of light is why your Hollyhocks are not blooming.

  1. Water

New plants need consistent water to get off to a strong start, but established Hollyhocks are not heavy drinkers. Not enough water early on or too much water once established can damage Hollyhocks, which can mean limited flowers or buds that do not open. New plants need water when the top layer of the soil starts to dry out, while mature plants need water during a dry period.

  1. Fertilizing

A rich, balanced diet is key to successfully growing Hollyhocks. Balanced fertilizer supports the consistent growth of the stalk, foliage, and flowers. A fertilizer high in nitrogen will encourage foliage growth while sacrificing flowers.

Pruning Hollyhocks To Help Them Bloom

Remove Hollyhock flowers as soon as they start to fade to encourage more flowers to bloom. In warmer areas with a long growing season, trim the stalk back after the last flowers fade, and the plant may push out another stalk and more blooms. The plant may not grow as large during a second push, and blooming may be cut short when the weather turns cold.

Fertilizing Hollyhocks To Help Them Bloom

Growing plants is about finding balance, and Hollyhocks that are under-fed or over-fed may not bloom. Rich soil with high organic content will keep Hollyhocks blooming, while poor-quality soil may fail to support flower growth. Applying a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once in the spring and again in the summer can keep the plant flush with flowers. Too much fertilizer, or an improper balance, may prevent the plant from setting flower buds.  

Get Hollyhocks To Produce More Blooms

Proper care is key to getting Hollyhocks to bloom, and fortunately, this plant is not very fussy, so it is easy to dial in the care. Hollyhock plants need proper light and water and protection from high winds. Rich soil will support healthy growth and flowers, as well as a light application of a balanced fertilizer. 


Why Hollyhock Isn’t Blooming

  • Lack of sunlight
  • Improper watering
  • Heavy pruning
  • Low-quality soil or incorrect fertilizer
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 Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 08-11-2022