I’ll never forget that first crop, I was living a much different lifestyle in the suburbs where they were planted in a landscaped rose bed in the front of our home. They brought life to that piece of landscaping not to mention wonderful curbside appeal.
I quickly discovered zinnias have a mind of their own and by allowing them to grow free form they always reached beyond their potential.
When to Plant
- Purchase new seeds from Johnny Selected Seeds because they have a nice variety and germinate quick.
- Use the direct seed planting method.
- Planting seeds towards the end of April and then replant again the later part of July.
Down south many times the spring crop gets tired from the really hot temperatures in July and August; by replanting I have the opportunity to enjoy healthy plants through the fall. If you have a shorter growing season you may want to add a second crop in June, this will depend on when the first freeze arrives.
Keep in mind these plants don’t like being transplanted so allow plenty of growing space, most varieties will grow wide and tall; since they’re an annual when the frost arrives their life cycle will come to a close. This isn’t bad news because you can harvest the seeds and plant again the following spring without having to buy seeds again. Learn how to harvest seeds here.
My first two planting seasons on the farm were organized in open fields. I absolutely love this way to garden but found it difficult to maintain in addition to everything else we had going on so later I moved everything to raised beds. The zinnias ended up in tire beds because they allowed support at the base, it gets windy here and many times I lost plants during the summer. Future plans include planting zinnias in long narrow raised beds that look like rows.
Decide the best way to plant for your climate then make sure the soil is prepped a month prior to starting seeds for best results. Prepped soil is the key to fantastic results and once completed begin planting by direct seed after the last frost. I also like to add liquid fertilizer like Llama Tea during the summer.
- Till the soil until it’s nice and fluffy
- Add natural fertilizer
- Remove weeds and plant after the last frost
Blooms, bugs and when to Water
Zinnia Blooms will dazzle from light pastel colors to bright vibrant tones. I love them all and always look forward to bringing them indoors to enjoy. Blooms can last just as long on the stem as they can indoors as fresh cut flowers which is another bonus. The more cut flower you bring indoors the more your plant will continue to produce.
Grasshoppers love to munch on the flowers and for that reason I used chickens to debug the garden. Welcoming wild birds into your space is another good idea, they will also help deplete the bug population with little effort because all birds love to feast on bugs.
Water in the early morning or late evenings it’s that simple. When temperatures rise in July and August the entire plant will appear wilted by afternoon, don’t panic because they will bounce right back with a little water, they like about an inch each week and by adding mulch you can help the soil stay moist.
Zinnias are an easy to grow flower making them a perfect option for beginner and established gardeners. You’ll enjoy the vibrant color patterns, which makes them perfect for fresh cut vase arrangements. Think about adding them to your garden this year because when those bees arrive they will help pollinate everything else you’re growing and that’s a wonderful thing!