Miniature hollyhock (Sidalcea malviflora), also known as checker-mallow or checkerbloom, produces showy spikes of small, hollyhock-like blossoms in shades of pink and purple. Some hybrids also bear white and red flowers. Reaching up to 4 feet in height, these perennials look similar to hollyhocks but lack their aggressive self-seeding habits and imposing height. Commonly used in cottage and meadow gardens, miniature hollyhocks thrive in the temperate conditions of USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9.
Plant miniature hollyhocks in early spring after the last frost date in your area. Choose a location that receives full sunlight and has average to rich well-drained soil. While they may tolerate light shade in warm climates, the plants perform best in full sun.
Loosen the soil at the planting site with a garden fork or tiller and dig a hole large enough to house the plant’s roots. Remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole. Fill in the hole with soil and tamp down the soil around the roots.
Water your miniature hollyhocks immediately after planting and continue watering about once a week during the spring and summer months or often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Cease watering after cutting plants back in early fall.
Feed miniature hollyhocks once a year in early spring to promote new growth. Use a balanced fertilizer according to the instructions provided on the label for the best results. Do not allow the fertilizer to come in contact with the foliage.
Remove the flower spikes from your miniature hollyhocks as they fade to encourage further blooming and prevent the growth of volunteer plants. Cut the plants to the ground after flowering ends in early fall to promote the growth of fresh foliage in spring.
Space miniature hollyhocks 1 to 1 1/2 feet apart to allow room for their mature size.
If plants become too tall and flop over, they may require staking. Place a stake in the ground behind each plant and loosely secure its stem to the stake with garden twine.
Never allow the soil to dry out completely, as this will cause miniature hollyhock’s foliage to wilt and drop.