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Above you will see the seed pod on the left is very green, and not at all mature. Inside, the seeds are still stuck to their ‘shrimp ring’ and still very white. Do not pick pods that look like this. The pods on the right are mature and the shell peels off or flakes off very easily. The bottom photo shows that the seeds easily separate when the pod is opened. Note that while many seeds are dark in the center, and some black, there are some varieties which have lighter seeds, but make sure they are mature and dry before harvesting them.
When harvesting your own seeds, allow the pods to tell you when they are ready. You will notice that the stem which holds the seed pod, or doughnut as I call it, turns brownish. Try not to pick seed pods until the papery shell turns a yellow or goldish brown. The seeds are all lined up together inside the seed pod like a shrimp ring. Pull back the shell to see if the entire seed ring has turned black. Do not pick the pod if it is white. It is a wise idea to put a masking tape strip around the bottom of the main stalk to identify which color / name of hollyhock you are growing as soon as the blooms reveal themselves, or you will find yourself unsure which is which. This is often the reason for hollyhock seed collections.
DO NOT gather a ziploc bag full of seed heads. They will sweat, mold and do hideous things.
(Just kidding, but this is not a good idea)
Instead, gently peel open part of the flap that covers the seed ring. If the seeds are not dry and blackish, don’t pick that pod. White seeds are not ready! If the seeds appear blackish and dry, the best way I have found to harvest is to put them into little trays
(be sure to label them and keep them organized so you will know what colors you have.)
Shuffle them around every day so that they dry evenly.
After the seed pods have dried and you find yourself with six foot tall empty stalks, simply cut the stalks to the ground. Don’t panic, this is not an art form. Just cut off the dead stuff. You may leave a little sticking out if it makes you feel better, but your plants ask this of you only to keep them neat and tidy. It’s not a growing requirement. I prefer to cut only the dried stalk sections, allowing the seed pods to fully mature on the stalk before removing them. My hollyhocks actually bloomed a second time later in the season after I cut the stalks off. You won’t see quite the show as in spring, but you may get a few more blooms, making you realize that they are indeed not dead and have more to give!
Impressive in that they are ‘double duty’ bloomers!
When to plant
Which variety is which?
Cross pollination issues
Cleaning up after your Hocks
Our available colors in seed form
Diseases and pest of the Hollyhock
Harvesting seeds / cutting back stalks
Did you know? Fun trivia about hollyhocks
Full sun / part sun / location for your hollyhocks
Moving your plants from one location to another
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