Growing Zinnias

Growing Zinnias
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Growing ZinniasZinnias were one of the first flowers I planted from seed. They are perfect for kids, but I also think they are wonderful for beginning gardeners. They are easy to grow with just a few requirements, and they actually prefer direct seeding. Germination is very quick-less than a week in hot weather!

Really, the only drawback to zinnias is they don't like humidity and often will end up with mildew. I always have a few that develop this, but most of them are bright and cheerful, blooming until frost.

When picking a location for zinnias select a bright, sunny spot. (At least 6 hours of sun.) They need good air circulation to help keep disease to a minimum. Keep the area weed free, water at ground level not from above, and space as instructed for the variety you choose. It helps to know they used to call Mexico home where it's hot and dry. This is how they grow best!

They come in so many wonderful colors and sizes--from the dwarf sizes to the giant zinnias that can reach 4 foot. There really is something for everyone. The giants will work for the back of the border and the dwarfs are great for window and porch boxes. Zinnias are also a favorite of butterflies!

It's not too late to plant them from seed. I planted a giant variety this weekend. The nights need to be around 50 degrees and in the north we just started warming up! Plant according to instructions-varieties do differ, and keep the soil moist til germination.

When the plants are small keep them watered well, but after they are established they will become drought tolerant. If they are in containers you'll need to water and fertilize more than if they are in beds.

Zinnias are known as a cut-and-come-again flower. The more you cut the more they bloom. Use them as a cut flower throughout the summer and you will have a nice supply until fall frost. They do continue to open indoors after cutting so you can cut them partially and fully opened in the mornings.

Growing Zinnias

Zinnias are perfect for using in a project with the kids. Allow them to decorate a clay pot and saucer, then when dry plant 3-4 zinnias seeds in good container soil. Have them water well and set the pot in a warm sunny spot on a porch or deck. Because they are fast growing it will be easier to keep the kid's attention as they care for the zinnias and watch them grow.

When they have a second set of leaves thin so only 2 or 3 plants are left in the pot, depending on how small the pot it. Be sure to use one of the dwarf varieties and if you have several kids or grandkids give them each a pot and group them together for a neat display!

Images: Wikimedia

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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