Understand Zinnias Zinnias can be produced from seed sown early inside and transferred outside after frost, from seed put directly in the garden after frost, or from plants cultivated in containers. Sowing Seed Indoors: Sow indoors 5-7 weeks before outdoor planting date in spring using a seed starting kit Sow seeds 14 inch deep according to the seed starting formula Maintaining soil moisture at 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit Seedlings emerge in 7-10 days Once seedlings emerge, place them on a sunny windowsill or grow them 3 to 4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights that are on for 16 hours per day and off for 8 hours each night.
- Increase the intensity of the lighting as the plant’s height increases.
- Because they become excessively hot, incandescent lights cannot be used for this procedure.
- Most plants require a dark phase to thrive; therefore, lights should not be left on for 24 hours.
- When the seedlings have two sets of leaves, thin them to one per cell.
When seedlings are 3 to 4 weeks old, use a starter solution (half the strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After the frost, transplant the hardened-off seedlings into the garden. Before being planted in the garden, seedlings must be “hardened off.” Introduce immature plants to outside circumstances by transferring them to a covered outdoor location for one week.
Initially, you must shield them from wind and intense sunlight. If frost is imminent at night, bring containers inside or cover them, then return them to the outside in the morning. This technique toughens the cell structure of the plant and decreases transplant shock and scorching. Direct Sowing in the Garden: After all threat of frost has passed, direct plant seeds in normal soil in full sun.
Level and smooth the soil after removing weeds and working organic matter into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil. Most plants thrive in soils that have been modified with organic materials. Compost is a beautiful kind of organic matter with a healthy mix of nutrients and an optimum pH level; it may be added at any time to your planting area.
If compost is unavailable, cover the soil with 1-2 inches of organic mulch after planting, which will begin to decompose into compost. Following the growing season, a soil test will reveal what soil amendments will be required for the subsequent season. Sow seeds equally 12 inches apart and cover with fine soil to a depth of 14 inch.
Hand-tamp the soil lightly, then water and maintain equally moist. Seedlings will emerge after 7-10 days. Depending on the cultivar, thin seedlings to 8-24 inches apart when they are 1-2 inches tall. Gardening involves planting: Choose a site with rich, moist organic soil and ample sun.
To prepare the bed, till the soil to a depth of eight inches. Remove clumps of grass and stones with a rake. Most plants thrive in soils that have been modified with organic materials. Compost is a beautiful kind of organic matter with a healthy mix of nutrients and an optimum pH level; it may be added at any time to your planting area.
If compost is unavailable, cover the soil with 1-2 inches of organic mulch after planting, which will begin to decompose into compost. Following the growing season, a soil test will reveal what soil amendments will be required for the subsequent season.
- Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root ball for each plant.
- Elevate the root ball to the same level as the surrounding soil.
- Fill to the top of the root ball with dirt.
- Hand-press the earth down firmly, leaving a little dip around the plant to retain water.
- Water sufficiently so that a puddle forms in the constructed saucer.
This results in optimal root-to-soil contact by settling the plants and eliminating air pockets. Utilize the plant label as a location indicator. Alternaria Leaf Spot: On the top surface of the leaves and along the midrib, small, circular, reddish-brown dots with white to gray centers appear.
Lesions may wrap the stems and result in wilting. This illness is exacerbated by hot, damp, or extremely humid conditions. Burpee suggests avoiding getting water on the plant’s leaves. Remove sick plant sections and avoid working near plants that are damp. Provide enough ventilation. Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for suggestions on fungicides.
Aster Yellows: Plants are stunted, develop witch’s brooms (excessive growth), and petals become distorted and become green. This virus-like disease is transmitted by leafhoppers. Burpee recommends removing and destroying diseased plants. Eliminate leafhoppers.
Eliminate weeds that act as alternate hosts for the illness. The earliest symptoms of bacterial leaf spot are little transparent spots with a broad yellowish margin that gradually expand and become angular or irregularly circular with a reddish core. It thrives in chilly conditions. Also susceptible to infection and disfigurement are flower heads.
Burpee suggests eliminating diseased plants. Replace crops with members of a different plant family. Avoid overhead irrigation. Work near plants only while they are dry. This fungus, Botrytis, creates grey mold on flowers, leaves, stems, and buds. It thrives under situations of chilly, rainy weather.
- Burpee suggests removing injured plant sections, avoiding nighttime watering and getting water on the plant when watering, and avoiding getting water on the plant when watering.
- Ensure that plants have enough air circulation.
- Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for suggestions on fungicides.
Powdery Mildew: This fungal ailment appears on the leaf surface during humid weather. The surface of the leaves seems to be pale or grayish, and they may curl. Burpee suggests avoiding powdery mildew by ensuring adequate air circulation to plants through proper spacing and trimming.
Should zinnia seeds be soaked before planting?
DO ZINNIA SEEDS REQUIRE SOAKING BEFORE PLANTING? – I believe the decision is up to you. I have observed no change in germination rates or periods when seeds are not soaked before planting. Plan to soak the zinnia seeds for no more than four to six hours before planting.
Zinnias are the hardest-working summer garden flower. Gardening in the summer demands plants with three essential characteristics: little care (it’s hot outside), heat and drought endurance (likewise), and great color—the more vibrant the better. Zinnias satisfy all three requirements.
Furthermore. In fact, they are one of the most useful flowers for savvy gardeners. Zinnias work quickly. If there is an easier-to-grow flower, please inform us. Annuals, such as zinnias, develop rapidly from seed to bloom to seed. The arrowhead-shaped seeds of zinnias require just simple garden preparation to germinate: put them in well-drained soil, in full sun, and with plenty of summer heat, and you’ll have seedlings in days and blooms in just a few weeks.
No perennial can match that velocity! One gardening buddy doesn’t even bother to prepare her soil; she simply distributes seeds where she wants zinnias to grow, watered those areas for a few days, and lets the easy-to-grow nature of zinnias take its course.
- Zinnias work anywhere color is required.
- Pop Art, Green Envy, Persian Rug, and Candy Cane.
- With variety names such as these, you know to expect color.
- Designed for cutting, to attract pollinators, etc., zinnias are available in a ludicrous range of vivid and pastel hues, except blue, in addition to bi-color, tri-color, and crazy-quilt combinations.
Many new zinnia series provide height and breadth variations in addition to their vibrant hues.
- While towering varieties of Zinnia elegans remain the traditional choice for the rear of the border, shorter varieties are increasingly challenging marigolds and petunias for the low ground. The Magellan Series of zinnias reach a maximum height of 14 inches, whereas the Thumbelina Series reaches a maximum height of 6 to 8 inches.
- The Crystal Series of creeping or spreading Zinnia angustifolia is a revelation for the front of the border, raised beds, containers, and even ground coverings. Since it is even more drought resistant than typical zinnias, this Mexican native is the go-to plant for hot locations such as sidewalk beds and that bare patch alongside the garage.
- In addition to being resistant to powdery mildew and leaf spot, ZaharaTM zinnias reach a height of just 8 to 12 inches (see below). We teamed Zahara Yellow with miniature sunflowers in the entrance beds of the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden.
Zinnias can be used as cut flowers. In addition to having long, sturdy stems, zinnias have flair, so they are made for the vase. When describing zinnia flowers, the following terms are used: stars and daisies, dahlias and spiders, buttons and domes, and quill-leaf cactus.
Flowers can be solitary, with petals arranged in a row around an open center, semi-double, or double. All are excellent for flower arrangements. Obviously, the tall kinds are preferred for cutting: ‘Benary’s Giant’ is renowned for its three-foot-tall, robust stems and huge blooms. Cut the stems of zinnias at an angle slightly above the bud junction.
Typically, zinnias have a lengthy vase life; remove the stems of all but the most visible leaves before placing them in water. Zinnias reduce job burden. Zinnias require little care. Since they develop rapidly, they outcompete weeds. They require minimal fertilization (an occasional balanced mixture) and no mulching.
Deadheading increases flower production. No time to speed up? The sidebar-mentioned Zaharas are self-cleaning, which is a time-saver when it comes to a huge bed. As with Zaharas, the Profusion Series (hybrids of Z. elegans and Z. angustifolia) is resistant to powdery mildew, the bane of zinnias. Because zinnias are indigenous to the grasslands of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America, they are well-adapted to dry environments.
However, rainy summers (we’ve experienced one so far) may be taxing. In addition, this might result in powdery mildew and leaf spot. Three recommendations for handling damp conditions:
- Water only as necessary, and then just at the plant’s base. Wet leaves can stimulate mildew growth, and spraying water can instantly transmit fungus from the soil to zinnia leaves.
- Blend tall, mildew-prone kinds into the background with other plants.
- Do both #1 and #2 and accept the reality that damp weather affects zinnia leaves but not blossoms
- as one horticultural described it, “even when zinnias are coated in powdery mildew, they’re covered in flowers.”
Zinnias are perennially useful. It is simple to preserve zinnia seeds. Simply allow the blossoms to dry completely on the stalk, then gather the seedheads and softly crush them to produce seeds for the next year. As with other seeds, store in a cool, dry location.
- And save aside some seeds for our Seed Swap in February!) A last reason to grow zinnias annually is because they attract butterflies.
- The larger-flowered types serve as nectar-seeking butterflies’ landing platforms.
- The same applies to hummingbirds.) Use tall zinnias with red or hot pink blossoms for maximum appeal.
Karen Zaworski is a garden writer and photographer who resides in Oak Park, Illinois and gardens there. Zinnias are the hardest-working summer garden flower.
How do you germinate a zinnia seed?
Sow Seeds Outdoors Planting zinnias directly in their final beds outside is the simplest method of propagation. Zinnia seeds require air and soil temperatures over 70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate well, so wait until spring to plant them.
Propagation – Zinnia seeds can be germinated indoors approximately six weeks before the outdoor planting date. Utilize a growth medium made exclusively for seed germination. Follow these procedures to propagate seeds successfully: Plant at a depth of 14″ and cover with vermiculite.
- Cover the planting tray with plastic to keep the seed and medium wet.
- Zinnias require darkness to germinate, so if feasible, use a black plastic cover.
- Seeds will germinate in 4-8 days at 70-75°F After germination, cultivate plants at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Between waterings, allow the medium to dry out somewhat to prevent sogginess. If desired, zinnias can also be reproduced by cuttings in around 3 to 4 weeks. To do this, trim 4 to 6 inches off the plant’s top and then remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.
How fast do zinnias germinate?
Observe a Zinnia Sprout – Once you have planted your zinnia seeds, observe them to see when they begin to sprout. Typically, zinnia seeds grow between seven and ten days after sowing. Once they do, ensure that they receive plenty light from an adjacent window.
- Burpee states to thin zinnia sprouts with one seedling per egg carton portion or seed tray compartment after they have two sets of leaves.
- Before adding fertilizer, wait until the zinnia sprouts are at least three or four weeks old.
- When you do decide to feed them, use a diluted indoor plant food and follow the instructions provided.
Once your zinnia seeds sprout, prepare them for the outdoors but do not transfer them immediately. Before transplanting zinnias into the ground, they must acclimate to outside circumstances. Before transplanting them, place them in a covered location such as a covered porch or carport for at least one week.