My zinnias are starting to bloom. Zinnias are a colorful spiky flower that bursts on the scene and stays for months. So today I will discuss the planting and care for this beautiful annual flower.
I never fertilize or use chemicals on my zinnias and I always have a riot of blooms throughout summer.
If you start having problems with insects, try to use natural solutions to deal with them to keep your garden chemical-free.
Zinnia is a genus of plants of the sunflower tribe, which is within the daisy family.
They are native to scrub and dry grassland in an area stretching from the Southwestern United States to South America, with a center of diversity in Mexico.
Annual: Zinnias are appropriate for seasonal use in all zones.
Types Of Zinnias: There are dwarf varieties 6 to 12 inches tall and wide. Others grow up to 4 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide.
Zinnia Shapes: Zinnias come in a wide variety of flower shapes with stars, daisies, dahlias, spiders, buttons, domes, and quill-leaf cactus shapes. Within those shapes, there are also singles, semi-doubles and doubles.
Colors: Flowers bloom in shades of orange, pink, purple, red, white and yellow. There are also bi-color and tri-color varieties. Leaves are pale to mid-green.
Exposure: Full sun
How Long They Bloom: Late spring until first frost, but may show a slow-down in blooming at the peak of heat in summer.
Toxicity: Zinnias are safe to plant around animals because they are non-toxic to dogs, cats and horses.
PLANTING ZINNIA SEEDS
Zinnias can be planted any time through the end of June. It’s a good idea to plant multiple rounds at 2 to 3 week intervals up until the end of June for non-stop blooming right into fall.
Locate your zinnias in an area that will get at least 6 hours of sun each day and where there is well-draining soil.
Sow seeds ¼-inch deep and follow spacing directions on the seed package. Give them sunshine and water, and you’ll have seedlings popping up in 4 to 7 days.
Thinning & Care of Zinnias:
Thin the seedlings to a spacing of 6 to 18 inches (depending on variety). Snip at the soil line with scissors.
(Tip: Pulling out seedlings can disturb the roots of those left behind.) Zinnias grow quickly and you’ll have beautiful bright blooms in about 60 days.
Caring For Zinnias:
For taller varieties that you’d like to use for cut flowers, one recommendation I read was to snip out the center flower when the plants are about 18 inches tall. This will encourage plants to begin branching low and ultimately produce much longer stems.
Spent blooms should be deadheaded to encourage and prolong further flowering.
Water regularly, for a total of about 1 inch per week. Although they can tolerate dry conditions, they will do much better with consistent moisture in the soil.
Keep excess moisture away from the foliage by watering at the base of the plant. This will help keep your plant healthy and prevent disease.
I find caring for zinnias easier than most any other flowering plant.
Saving Zinnia Seeds:
Seeds are easy to save by letting the flowers dry completely on the stem. Remove seeds by lightly crushing the dried seed head.
Store the seeds in a cool, dry place for planting next spring. Keep in mind, however, that seeds saved from hybrid plants may not develop true to the parent plant.
Bacterial and fungal spots, powdery mildew and bacterial wilt can be troublesome for zinnias. Keeping the foliage dry and providing good air circulation will go a long way toward prevention.
Zinnias can also be host to caterpillars, mealybugs and spider mites. It’s best to remove caterpillars by hand. But mealybugs and spider mites can be treated with insecticidal soap.
Zinnias are deer resistant and may even help protect other plants located next to them.