Growing Zinnias: A Guide to Planting, Growing and Caring for Zinnias

By January 8, 2020 Flowers No Comments
Flowers zinnia elegans

Zinnias have long been a favorite in the flower garden. What’s not to like? Zinnias come in all different colors. They are easy to grow from seed planted directly in the garden. Plus, they are prolific bloomers!

Flowers zinnia elegans

Zinnia types and sizes

Zinnias have three basic flower heads:

  • Single flower heads: These zinnias have a single row of petals that surround a visible center.
  • Double flower heads: These zinnias have multiple rows of flower petals and the flower center is not visible.
  • Semi-double flower heads: These zinnias have multiple rows of flower petals and a visible flower center.

Zinnias also come with different shapes of flowerheads, including button, beehive and cactus. Each of these types of zinnias adds a beautiful bloom in your garden. It just comes down to your personal style preference. 

The next option is size. Some types of zinnias grow over three feet tall and make a grand statement in your flower bed.  Others are a maximum of six inches, perfect for pots, window boxes and to border your flower beds.

Zinnia various color in garden

Zinnia growing zones

Zinnias are annuals in most areas of the country that have four seasons, including a cold winter. This means they last for one season. If you want zinnias every year, you will have to replant every spring. Zinnias are not cold tolerant, so check your last freeze date for your growing zone. Don’t plant until you are past that freeze date. 

Planting zinnias in your garden

Zinnias love full sun so plant them where they will have the maximum exposure. You can plant directly in the ground. The seeds should be planted about a ¼-inch deep and covered with soil. They germinate easily and you will start to see your new plants popping through the soil in four to seven days. 

You can also start them indoors to get an early start on flowering. Generally, you will have flowers in about two months. This can vary a little depending on the weather. Zinnias don’t like to be moved so if you do decide to start them early, make sure you use the pellets or plugs to start the seed in. That way, the entire root system is undisturbed when you move them out to their spot in your garden. 

Caring for your zinnias

Zinnia seeds are large, so they are easy to handle. Check the package for spacing directions for the type of zinnia you are going to grow. Because zinnias can get powdery mildew in wet summers, you should strive to give your plants enough room for air circulation. This will help prevent mildew. 

Zinnias will bloom throughout the summer, so it is a good idea to give them a little help by adding some compost to the soil. If you don’t have compost, add fertilizer. You will have more blooms if you deadhead the zinnias—this is the process of removing dead or dying blossoms from the plant once they’ve passed their peak. Simply cut the head off with your garden pruner and new flower blooms will grow in its place. Don’t be afraid to pick some blossoms for an indoor bouquet. Zinnias grow with each flower on its own stem, so they are perfect cutting flowers. Plus, cutting the flowers just encourages the plant to produce more!

Choose your favorite zinnia varieties

The sky is the limit when growing these garden stunners. There are so many different varieties of zinnias to choose from that are available in just as many colors. Zinnias used to only be sold in mixed colors, and that is an amazing color pop in your yard and garden. Zinnias hold their flowers above the foliage, so they are impossible to miss and will definitely brighten your garden in ways you can see from inside the house as well as walking past on the sidewalk or driving by. 

Monarch Butterfly

Bonus benefits of zinnias

Hummingbirds and other pollinators love zinnias. They are a great nectar source. The zinnia profusion is a favorite of bees and butterflies and will guarantee your garden is a favorite stop for them. That sweetness also translates to people! Garnish your next plate with the zinnia’s edible flower petals. 

Zinnias are an often overlooked powerhouse for any garden, so be sure to add color, excitement and food for your garden ecosystem today.

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