Growing zinnias is the perfect answer if you’re looking to fill your summer garden with masses of hot color. These flowers are easy to grow from seed, and they can take as little as 8 weeks to go from seed to flower.
They originate from Mexico, so they need at least six hours of direct sun a day.
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You can sow zinnia seeds directly into your garden’s soil after the risk of frost has passed. Choose a sunny spot and clear the ground of any weeds. Space them in the ground according to the instructions on the seed packet.
Add a thin covering of compost and water lightly. Make sure the ground doesn’t dry out as the seeds begin to germinate. Thin out to 6 to 16 inches (15 – 40 cm) between each plant depending on the variety.
For slightly earlier blooms, plant seeds in biodegradable organic pots. Fill these with sieved compost or an organic nutrient-rich seed starting mix and push a single seed into each pot. Water lightly and put them on a windowsill or in a greenhouse. Harden off by putting outside during the day when the frosts have passed. Transplant into a sunny place and water a couple of times a week if needed until the plants are established.
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Once plants are established, standard flower watering guidelines apply.
Zinnias thrive when being deadheaded regularly. Removing flowers when the petals are beginning to lose their bright colors will produce a steady display of these show-stopping flowers.
Zinnias will reward you with an ongoing supply of flowers for your displays. Flowers are ready for cutting when the centers are starting to open.
Remove leaves from the flower stems that will be underwater when you put them into vases. Change the water every few days to prevent algae from forming.
Zinnias can be susceptible to powdery mildew. You will recognize this as a white, powdery spore growth that appears on leaf surfaces. Any new growth may appear distorted and infected areas will begin to die back. Keeping Zinnias in full sun with good air circulation reduces the chance of your plants developing this disease.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Zinnia Plants (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...
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