How to Grow Hollyhocks Step-vert How to Grow Hollyhocks. Hollyhocks are generally considered a biennial. They grow leaves the first year and flower, seed and die the next. However, depending on growing conditions and the hardiness of the plants, they frequently live longer than 2 years; in some climates, they are more of a short-lived perennial. If you start hollyhocks indoors, or if you live in an area with a long growing season, there is a chance you could get flowers the first year.