Zinnias: How to Plant, Grow and Care for Zinnia Flowers
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!
Zinnias are best grown from seed and they are an annual, 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. 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.
Planting Zinnia Flowers
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.
Care for Zinnia Flowers
-Deadhead Zinnias to prolong blooming time.
-Zinnias can get 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.
-When plants are about 18" tall you can go through and clip out the top center flower. This will encourage the plants to begin to branch low and produce longer stems.
Harvesting Zinnia Flowers
-Harvesting Zinnias at the right stage is important. This helps to insure 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 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 longer, stronger stems all season long.
-If your Zinnias are in a vase, change the water every two days to prolong the Zinnia blooms.
I’d love to know if you have any additional tips or techniques for planting, growing and caring for Zinnias. Please leave your advice to the comments below.