Easy-care, easy-grow Zinnias produce abundant double, semi-double or single blooms throughout the spring and summer.
Planting them from seed or seedlings is a simple task, and simpler still is the fact that these plants will very often reseed themselves and return year after year.
It’s easy to collect and save zinnia seed to sow directly into worked soil early in the springtime, but it’s even easier to allow the last blooms to stay on the plants to dry.
When you do this, there is a very good chance those seeds will fall to the earth, rest through the winter and merrily sprout in the springtime.
How Do You Collect And Save Zinnia Seeds?
Zinnias are annual plants, meaning they do not come back every year. After flowering, they will set seeds and die with the first fall frost.
Throughout the growing season, it’s a good idea to deadhead your zinnias regularly to encourage more blooms. If you leave the flower heads on the plants, the seeds will develop and dry, and that particular plant will not bloom again.
To collect seeds, here’s what you need to remember:
- Wait until the end of summer to stop deadheading.
- Allow the last flush of blooms to stay on the plants, develop into seeds, and dry.
- Collect the dried flowers by hand by simply pulling the seed heads off the plant.
Drop the dried seeds into an envelope, seal it, label it and keep it in a cool, dry place until springtime when you can scatter the seeds over well-worked soil after all danger of frost has passed.
Remember Zinnias’ Origins When Planning Your Garden
Zinnia spp. is considered one of the most popular and easy-to-grow flowering annuals because it got its humble start as an enthusiastic wildflower in Central and South America, Mexico, and the southwestern United States.
Given the right circumstances, zinnias will grow happily and abundantly, reseed themselves and return year after year with little or no effort on your part.
For the best success with zinnias, you’ll need to provide a setting with lots of heat, sun, and well-draining soil. If you have a hard pan or soil that contains a lot of clay, amend it liberally with compost and organic fertilizer at the time of planting. You will not need to fertilize again.
These plants are not especially hungry or thirsty and will do well when treated as wildflowers. This means providing very deep, occasional watering at the ground level.
Don’t use overhead watering. Instead, set up a soaker hose or just lay your hose down to trickle out water slowly in the center of your flowerbed. Water deeply and then wait until the soil has nearly dried before watering again.
Well-Cared-For Zinnias Are Trouble Free
Problems may arise if you grow your zinnias in the shade. Without enough sun, zinnias will grow weak and leggy. Lack of sun also causes a lack of blooms.
Too little sun leads to damp conditions, and this can cause problems with fungal infections, such as powdery mildew.
Overhead watering or excessive humidity will also cause mildew problems. Keep your zinnia leaves dry and provide good air circulation and plenty of sun.
If you live in an area with a great deal of humidity, look for zinnia varieties resistant to powdery mildew.
What’s The Best Use Of Zinnias?
A varied collection of these plants makes a lovely flower bed all on its own, or you can combine zinnias with other blooming annuals for a pretty effect. They are an excellent addition to a mixed flowerbed, pollinator, and cutting garden.
Zinnias are excellent as cut flowers because the cut blooms last a long time. Harvesting cut flowers throughout the growing season encourage plants to grow and bloom even more.
Taller zinnia varieties make a pretty backdrop to a flower garden. Small and miniature varieties can be successfully grown in flowerpots, window boxes, and planters. They also make a pretty border along a walkway or along the front of a mixed flower bed.
There Are Dozens Of Zinnia Varieties To Choose From
No matter where you live or what sort of planting situation you have, you can surely find a type of zinnia that will do well for you. Here are some of the most popular choices:
- Zinnia elegans: This variety stands tall and produces large flowers in shades of white, yellow, orange, rose, pink, lavender, and even green. These plants have coarse, wide foliage.
- Zinnia angustifolia: This lower-growing plant has very narrow leaves and abundant small blooms in shades of white, yellow, and orange.
- Zinnia marylandica: This is a very rugged hybrid variety developed by the University of Maryland. It is available in many different colors, sizes, and bloom types.
As with all hybrids, these plants display the best qualities of their parent plants (Z. elegans x Z. angustifolia).
Mix & Match Zinnias For A Colorful, Carefree Garden
Zinnias are remarkably easy to grow. They have large seeds that sprout quickly into rugged, easy-care plants. For this reason, they are an excellent choice for beginners and children planting a first garden.
In addition, their blooms appear quickly and abundantly throughout the summer months and attract friendly, helpful pollinators to your garden.
Follow the tips presented here to grow zinnias successfully in your yard and garden.