The Q&A Archives: Hail Damaged Hollyhocks

Question: Planted your Country Romance Hollyhocks last year. Did not bloom first year but did bloom nicely this year. Approx. July 25th we received a hail storm as I have never seen before. It damaged the leaves severely and is not blooming. Should I cut them back now or must I wait for frost? If I can cut them back now, to what height? Thanks for your help!

Answer: Hollyhocks usually act like biennials, meaning the first year they simply grow and build strength, the second summer they bloom and then die. If allowed to set seed, they will replant themselves in a patch and seem to be perennial. An occasional plant may also perform like a perennial and survive for three or more years.

The plants can be encouraged to bloom over a longer period by deadheading, or cutting back the flower stalks when the flowers fade. The plant may then produce a second flush of blooms. If you want it to set seed however you must leave a few flowers on the plant to mature and ripen seed.

If the hail broke the stems, go ahead and cut them off. If the flowers are faded, also go ahead and cut them off. Although the foliage may look tattered, the plants should be fine otherwise for the rest of the season.

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