Are you looking for a great cut and come again flower for your cut flower gardens? Start with Zinnias. Zinnias are one of the easiest flowers to grow from seed, they grow quickly and bloom for long periods of time. And, as an added bonus the butterflies love them!
Best Cut Flower for Beginner Gardeners
Zinnias are a great choice for the beginner gardener and a long time favorite of all gardeners. The seeds are large enough to plant individually in holes and they quickly germinate, generally in less than just a few weeks, especially if the soil is already warm.
Zinnias are best grown from seed and they are an annual flower, meaning that they only grow for one season. They are easy to save the seed from so that you can grow them again the next year from seeds that you save.
There is such a wide variety of Zinnias that can be grown from seed. They come in a wide variety of colors and grow to be various heights. There are also varieties with single or double petaled flowers.
Certain varieties of Zinnias can grow up to three feet tall, and they come in a wide variety of colors. This year I chose to grow the white varieties called, Giant Dahlia and Benary's Giant White. Some of my other favorites are Queen Red Lime, Queen Lime with Blush, and Queen Orange Lime.
How to Plant Zinnia Seeds
Zinnias should be started from seed. You can transplant them from a local garden center but they won't thrive as well and Zinnias are so easy to grow from seed. Zinnias like full sun so plant them in an area where they get sun after the last frost date for your area.
Sow Zinnias seeds 1/4 inch deep. You will see the Zinnia seedlings begin to come up in about 5-7 days. It is recommended to plant Zinnias at least 4 to 6 inches apart and then to thin them out once they reach 3 inches tall to a space of 4 to 24 inches apart. I personally plant mine close and don't thin them. I have not had issues doing this and I get a large mass grouping that I think looks beautiful.
You can plant Zinnia seeds throughout the season, several weeks apart to have longer flowering displays.
How to Deadhead Zinnias
Deadhead Zinnias to prolong blooming time. Zinnias flourish when they are deadheaded and it encourages the flower to continue to bloom. Once the flower begins to fade, remove it from the stem. You can either pinch the flower off or use a small pair of garden shears to cut them off. There are a variety of places that you can cut back a zinnia, and depending on where you cut will make a difference in how the plant responds.
Deadheading a Zinnia closer to the ground will cause it to produce blooms that are lower to the ground. Where ever you cut the stem is where it will branch and grow new blooms. I generally cut mine back to the nearest set of leaves after the bloom fades. No matter where you choose to cut it back, the Zinnia is a very forgiving plant and will continue to grow.
Zinnias can get a disease such as bacterial and fungal spots, powdery mildew, and bacterial wilt. To avoid this, when watering plants avoid getting the water on the leaves. Water at the base of the plants and it is generally a good idea to water them in the early morning hours. Providing good air circulation between the plants by giving them proper spacing is another way to help eliminate issues with Zinnias.
When to Gather | Pick Zinnia Flowers
Picking Zinnias at the right stage is important. This helps to ensure that you get long-lasting blooms for your bouquets. Harvest blooms when you can hold the stem 8 inches below the bloom, shake the stem and the bloom stay stiff and upright. If you shake the stem, and the flower bends easily then it is not quite ready to harvest.
Cut long stems, remove the foliage and put into the water right away. When cutting stems, cut just above a leaf node or bud to encourage new blooms on the remaining stem. Zinnias are cut and come again flowers, so the "harder" you cut the stronger the plant responds by sending out long, stronger stems all season long.
I’d love to know if you have any additional tips or techniques for planting, growing and caring for Zinnias. Please leave your advice in the comments below.