Large, brightly colored blossoms make zinnias a sunny summer-time favorite.
Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 60-75 days from seed to flower
Height: 18 to 24 inches
Spacing: 6 to 12 inches apart in all directions
Available in a wide variety of sizes and colors, growing zinnias will satisfy home gardeners for several months each summer. Larger varieties can be used to brighten up annual or mixed borders and are a favorite in cut flower displays. Smaller varieties are well suited for containers and windowboxes or planted at the front of a garden bed.
Zinnias are amoung the easiest flowers to grow and are extremely rewarding with their beautiful colors and long-lasting blooms. Vibrant blossoms are also highly attractive to songbirds, butterflies and pollinators. Plant an array of colors and watch your flower gardens come to life.
Fact: Zinnias are members of the aster family making them closely related to daisies, cosmos, marigolds and sunflowers.
These annual warm season flowers like full sun and rich, well-drained soil. They are easy to grow and will tolerate average to slightly poor soils. Preparing garden areas with generous amounts of organic compost and well-aged animal manure will improve the health of plants tremendously. Watch Flower Gardening from the Ground Up – video.
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How to Plant:
Start seeds early indoors for transplanting outdoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date (see Starting Annual Flowers Indoors). In warmer climates, sow seeds directly into planting areas and cover with approximately 1/4 inch of soil. Water thoroughly and thin to 6 to 12 inches apart after seedlings have sprouted. Once established, zinnia flowers are easy to grow and will thrive in many conditions, even if left unattended.
Fertilize monthly with an organic bloom boosting fertilizer once plants have started flowering. Pinch the spent blooms off to extend the blooming season. Mulch to conserve moisture, prevent weeds and improve aesthetics. Zinnia will not survive a hard frost or freeze.
Insects and Disease:
Zinnia plants are prone to fungal diseases including black spot, rust and powdery mildew. Use soaker hoses to keep the foliage dry and keep the soil beneath the plants clean with mulches. Watch closely for insect and disease problems and treat early to prevent widespread damage.
Seed Saving Instructions:
Zinnias will cross-pollinate. Gardeners should only grow one variety at a time to save pure seed or isolate varieties by 1/4 mile. Seeds are ready to harvest when the blooms begin to turn brown and dry. The seeds are contained in the very center. When the heads are completely dry, gently crush the heads between your hands and then carefully winnow away the chaff.