Planting Guide - Zinnia Seeds
Growing Zinnias in Your Garden
In size, zinnias range from the tiny Lilliput varieties suitable for edgings and borders, to the giant, branching types which reach a height of over three feet. There are single and double forms, crested, curled and quilled forms and there are few flowers which offer as wide a range of color; white, shell-pink, violet, salmon, rose, scarlet, mauve, yellow and tawny orange. There are varieties to suit every color planting and they may be had in soft pastel tints or in shades that are wildly vibrant with color.
When & How to Plant Zinnia Seeds
Keep in mind that Zinnias are native to Mexico, where they have become accustomed to long, hot summers. They are classed as tender annuals and can be directly sown into the garden after all danger of frost is over and daytime temps are at least 50F and above. In cooler climates, start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before your areas average last-frost date. Harden off the plants by vacationing trays outside for a few hours per day before planting them in your garden.
Zinnias are best started directly outdoors in locations where spring warms up early. Turn over the soil in the area you want to plant your zinnias and work in 2 or 3 inches of compost or peat moss to help improve soil fertility and drainage. Plant the seeds only about Ό ½ deep and you should see seedlings sprout in four to seven days. Once the seedlings reach about 3 tall, thin them to maximize air circulation, and prevent powdery mildew. The dwarf varieties, reaching a height of 1 to 1 ½ feet, should be planted or thinned to about 9 apart, while the taller 3-feet varieties should be spaced about 1 foot apart.
If starting your zinnias indoors, fill up your pots with organic potting mix. Saturate the potting mix with water and then place two zinnia seeds into each planting cell or pot. Press into the soil for good seed-to-soil contact and then cover with approximately ½ of the potting mix.
Place your zinnias in an area that will receive plenty of warmth (65-70F) and light. Keep your zinnia seeds moistened, checking on them every day or two. Expect to see germination in about 7 to 10 days. Once your seedlings reach about 2 ½ - 3 tall, they are ready to be transplanted outdoors.
Zinnias may be transplanted with ease, as it is possible to move the plants when they are in full flower! Although they thrive best in full sun, they will also endure partial shade.
Water the area of your zinnia plants carefully, do not get the stems or leaves wet since zinnias are prone to mildew. Keep your zinnia garden lightly moistened, and let the area dry out between watering. The beauty of zinnias is that you can spend your attention elsewhere while they bloom profusely summer to autumn.
Though zinnias are almost effortless to grow, they may experience a bought of powdery mildew. Prevention is your best defense against this troublesome fungus. Make sure that your zinnias maintain good air circulation around them (by planting the recommended distance), and water at the roots rather than from above.
A fundamental annual for most field grown cut flower operations, zinnias hold up well in the garden and cut in flower vases. Enjoy these jewels cut and sprinkled through your house as a mainstay of summer!
As your zinnias reach full height in your garden, you may notice that they have tired of standing all on their own for so long and may need staking. Some gardeners anticipate this stage by starting a second flat of seedlings in June and transplant in late June/mid July. This way, they can enjoy clean, fresh, upright blooms all the way up to August until frost.