Answer: You should mulch around the plants but not over the foliage and not touching the stems becuase this would encourage rot. The most commonly used mulch would be shredded bark, but nearly any organic material can be used including straw or shredded autumn leaves. The mulch should be placed in a layer several inches deep.
The foliage may die back somewhat but there are usually a few green bits at the crown all winter. In the spring once the weather has moderated, tidy up the plants by gently removing any discolored leaves.
Enjoy your hollyhocks!
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