Mighty Little Zinnias

What’s not to like about zinnias?  Zinnias tolerate Texas heat and summer sun.  They provide bright pops of color out in the garden and can even be brought indoors as cut flowers.  Plus, zinnias grow easily from seed, making them a very economical addition to your landscape.

I grew this long row of zinnias from a couple of seed packets.  My total cost for seed was only  $3.78.  (Zinnias are sometimes sold as bedding plants in 6 packs, however I fin zinnias do best in the landscape when direct seeded in the soil.)

Zinnia seeds are thin little slivers of a seed and should be planted just under the soil, less than 1/4″ deep.  I sew the seeds about 4 inches apart and thin to 8 inches apart, although you could allow up to 12″ between plants.  Zinnias often germinate quickly and I look for little plants in 3-4 days or so.  Keep the soil nice and moist until the seeds germinate.

Once the zinnia plants are about 4-6″ tall and have at least two tiers of leaves, I pinch off the center group of leaves.  This will encourage the zinnia plant to branch out and produce more flower-bearing stems.

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Pinch or clip back the center leaves to promote side shoot growth.

Keep young plants watered and fed.  I water ever other day and occasionally spray with fish emulsion and liquid seaweed.   It will take about 60-70 days for a seedling to produce the first flower.  When your plants start to form blooms you may wish to fertilize with a root and bloom type fertilizer.

Zinnias will bloom throughout the summer.  Remove spent flowers from the plant to promote continued blooming.  Zinnias also make great cut flowers for indoor arrangements.  To get the longest vase life from your zinnias, cut zinnias right before the blooms fully open.  Also place a few drops of bleach in your flower water to help keep the water clean.

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Since Zinnias will die off when the weather gets cold, zinnias seeded after July may not have enough time to fully flower before the cold weather sets in.

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