Why didn't I save seeds from my hollyhocks? Not really sure why I didn't since hollyhock seeds are easy to collect. If you have a hollyhock in your garden that you really like, you should save some seeds from it every year and sow them.
Collecting and saving hollyhock seeds is very simple.
When the bloom's petals fall off they expose the pod where the seeds are developing. The hollyhock seed pod starts off green and then turns brown, like the above picture illustrates. The first time I paid attention to the seed pod I thought it resembled an old coin purse with the string at the top to draw it closed. This seed pod is probably ready to split open and harvest the seeds from. If you look closely, you may be able to spot the outline of the seeds. Although, I prefer to leave the seed pod alone until it opens by itself.
When the seeds inside have expanded and the pod has split open, you know the hollyhock seeds are ready to collect. The dark, circular seeds seem to expand to release themselves. Even at this point they don't go very far from the plant, the seeds stick together and are not easily disturbed by wind or rain.
For example, these hollyhock seed and seed pod were ready back in August. I left them on the stem to see how long they would remain attached to the stem or to each other. In late November I finally collected them because they would probably would've remained in their location until the whole plant succumbed to a frost. Don't the seeds look like little coins?
If you grow hollyhocks in your garden you have to be prepared to deal with hollyhock rust and pests like the hollyhock weevils pictured above. Hollyhock weevils will feed on the developing buds of the bloom and will lay eggs inside. When you collect the entire seed pod, weeks or months later you may discover that the eggs inside have hatched. Separate the seeds from the pod and place them in a paper envelope, then seal the envelope with tape or glue. This way if you find you brought in any weevil larvae or adult weevils, you can toss the envelope containing the hollyhock seeds into the freezer for a few days to kill them.
Here is what a hollyhock seed pod infested with hollyhock weevils looks like. You want to avoid saving seeds from hollyhock seed pods that look like this.
How to Save Hollyhocks Video
Hollyhocks can be either annuals or biennial. Biennial hollyhocks will germinate the first year and grow, but will not flower until the second year of growth. After that they start to die after having been replaced by offspring produced by the hollyhock seeds. If your hollyhocks are biennial it is important to save your hollyhock seed ever year so as not to lose your plants.