Because of the wonderful burst of colors, they add to any flower garden, Zinnias are popular annuals among gardeners.
Zinnia plants are not only heavy bloomers but also super easy to grow. In other words, you’ll have the full package when you decide to grow zinnias.
When to plant Zinnias? Wait until after frost before you start planting zinnias. Ideally, plant them in spring around the time you would plant carrots. You can also start planting the seed indoors, about 30 to 40 days before the day of the last frost. Do this if you want your Zinnias to bloom sooner.
4 Reasons To Have Zinnias in Your Garden
These warm-season plants thrive in hot climates but can survive in almost any growing condition.
If you’re from regions with a USDA Hardiness Zone Rating 2 to 8, expect to grow these flowers as annuals. On the other hand, those in Zones 9 to 11 will grow them as perennials.
Because they require only minimal care, even beginner gardeners will have success growing Zinnias.
Here are reasons you might want to add this to your garden:
1. They are perfect for decoration.
If you love freshly cut flowers to bring life and color into your house, you must have Zinnias in your garden.
When properly cut and put in a vase, Zinnias can last weeks.
Pick a vibrant vase that will complement the bright colors of Zinnias, and it will surely bring warmth to your living room.
2. They attract all kinds of insects.
Zinnias are amazing pollinators. They attract bees and all kinds of insects in their growing season.
To take advantage of this, you can plant your Zinnias alongside your beans or other vegetables.
The insects will be attracted to the Zinnias instead of your beans, saving them from infestation.
3. They are very low maintenance.
Zinnias are drought and heat tolerant, making them perfect for summer. In fact, they may be the easiest flower to grow.
Some gardeners do not prepare their soil at all; they just scatter the seeds in places they want them to grow and water them daily.
Zinnias will naturally thrive if the soil is well-draining.
4. They are fast and hard growers.
Zinnias are annuals. You plant the seeds, and then they become flowers and back to seeds again very quickly.
The special thing about Zinnias is that they have pointy seeds, like an arrowhead. This allows them to require only the most basic garden preparation to grow.
Full sun and well-draining soil are all you’ll ever need, and you will have flowers blooming in a matter of weeks.
Choosing Zinnia Seeds
Zinnias have a vast selection of colors, including red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, lavender, green, and white like a daisy. You’ll never find blue Zinnias, though.
There are generally four Zinnia varieties based on their flower heads. You can identify them depending on the number of rows of the flower’s petals.
As the name suggests, this type of Zinnia only has one row of petals. You will also find that the center is exposed.
You will know if a Zinnia is semi-double if the center is visible and exposed and the flower has more than one row of petals.
3. Fully Double-Flowered
If a Zinnia is fully double-flowered, it has more than one row of petals. Compared to a semi-double, the center of the flower is not exposed.
The petals of cactus-flowered Zinnias are longer than the normal types. They roll inwards towards the center of the flower, resulting in a unique flower form.
Preparing To Plant Zinnias
After deciding which type you want to grow, you can start the preparation process. Here’s what you should do before planting your Zinnias:
Step 1: Know exactly when to plant your Zinnias.
Start by checking the frost dates in your area. This is usually available online; all you will need is your zip code.
Again, you should only start planting your Zinnias after the last day of frost in spring.
Zinnia seeds do not tolerate frost, so it is best to wait at least a week before planting your seeds.
Step 2: Find an ideal location.
Zinnias need an abundance of sunlight to thrive. They should be getting full exposure to grow.
As much as possible, avoid locations that have any shade or trees that will block out the sunlight.
Step 3: Test the soil.
Buy a testing kit at your local garden store and test the pH level of your soil, which should be close to 5.5 up to 7.5.
Step 4: Amend the soil if needed.
Depending on the result of your soil test, you may be required to adjust your soil pH if deemed necessary.
To raise the pH level, you can add limestone to the top of your soil. To lower the pH level, add peat moss or pine needles.
How To Plant Zinnia Seeds
With your gardening tools ready, here’s how to start planting Zinnias:
Step 1: Add sand in a moist location.
Zinnias grow better with less water in the ground.
If the soil is a little too moist for planting, try adding a tiny amount of sand and ensure that the soil is water-free and firm.
However, if it can’t be helped and the rain just won’t stop for days, it is best to wait until the rain has stopped before starting to plant your seeds.
Adding soil in this instance may not be enough to solve the problem.
Step 2: Make holes in the ground using your fingers.
For the Zinnias to thrive, ensure that the holes are at least 1/4 inch deep.
Step 3: Provide enough spacing for your Zinnias.
Adequate spacing is needed for your Zinnias to grow safely. For small varieties, provide at least four inches between each plant.
For bigger varieties, ensure 12 inches in between. Use a measuring tape to space your Zinnias accurately.
How To Care For Zinnias
While these low-maintenance plants don’t need much care, they will appreciate some TLC. Here’s what you can do to give your Zinnias the support they need to thrive:
1. Trim your Zinnias when their leaves are overlapping.
Zinnias rarely need trimming early in their lives. However, as they grow and reach around eight centimeters, their leaves will grow and overlap.
In this instance, trim the leaves using a gardening shear so that they will not touch.
2. Lightly water your plants.
Before they grow from the ground, you should be watering your Zinnias daily. Do this until your plant is established.
Once established, reduce watering to thrice a week.
3. Fertilize your plants.
Every other week, you should be fertilizing your plant for it to grow abundantly. Fertilizers should be available in your local garden stores or online.
Fertilizers have precise instructions on the back of the packaging. Ensure that you follow them thoroughly.
The instructions should include the amount of fertilizer you should use according to your garden’s size.
4. Prevent mildew and other diseases.
Although Zinnias do not attract a lot of pests, they are susceptible to mildew.
Take extra measures to ensure your Zinnias are protected from mildew.
Be careful not to overwater them; you should be watering your Zinnias at the soil level.
Ensure that you provide enough space for each plant. You can prevent overcrowding by regularly trimming your Zinnias.
Zinnia Diseases and How To Treat Them
If you’re worried about the health of your Zinnias, here are the most common diseases and how you can deal with them:
1. Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that forms on the leaves’ surface. They sometimes form on the petals.
To treat this, you’ll need to buy a fungicide at your local garden store or online and apply it to the plant’s surface.
2. Bacterial Leaf Spot
This bacterial infection manifests as brown spots on the leaves. They also have a distinguishable yellowish halo.
Unfortunately, there is no spray effective for this disease. To avoid it, keep the leaves as dry as possible when watering your plant.
3. Aster Yellows
Aster yellows are a disease wherein a tissue that looks like leaves forms on the flower instead of actual flower parts. These parts will remain green.
The sepals vary in this disease; they can be extremely large or very small.
To treat this, you will need to cut away the infected plants. Also, be wary of leafhoppers, and control them if necessary.
4. Alternia Leaf SpoTS
This disease will appear as big, purple, or reddish-brown spots. They will start as round in shape but become irregular as the disease spreads.
The leaves that are severely damaged by this disease will become dry, brown, and brittle.
To treat this, buy a fungicide and apply it to the surface. You’ll also need to be careful in watering your plant. Ensure that the leaves are untouched when watering to keep them dry.
The Joys of Growing Zinnias
It is an understatement to say that Zinnias are low maintenance. Not only are they a breeze to grow, but they also attract a mixture of butterflies.
What’s more fun than that?
Zinnias are perfect for teaching your child to grow flowers in your garden. Children, being naturally impatient, will love that these flowers grow and bloom quickly. For adults, Zinnias are a popular choice because they do not require much effort.
Although well-drained soil is ideal, it can grow and survive almost anywhere. All they need is plenty of sunlight.
You don’t have to bother providing them with a lot of water in the dry summer season. This is a gift for gardeners with land in remote areas or gardeners conserving water.