Zinnia - Garden Basics - Flower - Annual

(Zinnia elegans)

Zinnias are true American natives that originated from the Southwest US, Mexico and Central America. The original was a purplish wildflower that grew in the Mexican deserts. Hybridizers have turned it into one of the most popular bedding plants.

Zinnias grow to between 6 and 40 inches in height with single and double blossoms varying in diameter from less than an inch to 7 inches. The petals can be any of a wide range of colors or multicolored.

Sow seeds indoors six weeks before the last frost and plant outdoors after frost danger is past as young plants are susceptible to chilling cold. They will not grow substantially until temperatures are above 50 degrees. Zinnias are one of the easier annuals to start from seeds. Sow the taller varieties in 3 inch peat pots because they resent transplanting. Alternatively, seeds can be sown directly outdoors when the soil has warmed sufficiently. Pinch the tops out of young plants when they are 4-6 inches high to make them bushy. Remove faded blossoms to keep them producing. Plants should be spaced 4 to 12 inches apart according to variety.

If you provide a reasonably fertile, well drained soil, your zinnias will do well. They are subject to mildew if they do not have good air circulation. In hot, humid climates, a midsummer replacement sowing may be useful in cutting gardens. Taller varieties may need to be staked.

Zinnias perform well massed in beds, used as an edging, in rock gardens, in pots and containers, or as background plants. They make excellent cut flowers. Scald the stems after picking and change vase water every couple of days. Zinnias attract butterflies.

  • Type
  • Propagation
  • Light
    full sun
  • Flower Color
  • Bloom Time
    early summer to early autumn
  • Height
    5-40 inches, most about 30 inches
  • Soil Requirements
    most any soil, good drainage, neutral or alkaline pH
  • Zones
  • Uses
    cutting bed, border, containers, butterfly gardens.

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