Zinnias are among the more commonly grown annual plants seen in the home garden. Originally from Mexico, zinnias can grow between 1 to 3 feet tall, depending on the variety. They produce flowers as small as 2 inches wide to larger, more flamboyant 6-inch wide flowers, in a wide variety of colors. Zinnias are easy to grow from seed. They can be directly sown into a garden after all chance of frost has passed. They can also be started early indoors, about four weeks before the last spring frost date in your growing region.
Germinating Zinnia Seeds
Purchase a good quality seed compost that contains perlite. Mix together equal portions of peat moss, loam and perlite to make your own seed compost.
Place the seed compost into a large bowl or bucket. Wet it down thoroughly until the compost is visibly well-moistened.
Scoop the seed compost into 3- or 4-inch wide biodegradable pots until they are full to about 1 inch from the top.
Plant two zinnia seeds per biodegradable pot. Scoop in approximately 1/2 inch of the seed compost over the seeds.
Set each of the pots into a shallow tray, a cookie sheet or other similar container.
Place the tray of pots near a window that will offer a good source of light, such as near a south- or west-facing window. The temperature should be warm, approximately 65 to 70 degrees F. Do not over water the zinnia seeds, but keep them moist by misting with water as needed. Germination of zinnia seeds will begin in seven to 10 days.
Transplant the zinnias into your garden when they are 2 to 3 inches tall and after all chance of frost has passed.
Choose a sunny planting spot for the zinnias. Zinnias are best planted outdoors when the temperatures remain above 50 degrees F.
Dig planting holes for each of the zinnia seedlings spaced about 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety of zinnia you are growing. Each hole needs to be about twice the width and approximately the same depth of each of the biodegradable pots.
Place each of the biodegradable pots into a bucket or basin. Fill up the basin or bucket with enough water to submerge the pots 1 inch deep. Let them soak for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until they are soft. Soaking the pots helps speed up the process of them disintegrating.
Cut off the top section down to the soil in each pot using a pair of scissors. This will prevent any moisture loss after planting.
Place a zinnia into one of planting holes. Hold the seedling vertical in the hole while you scoop soil around the biodegradable pot to completely fill the hole with soil. Use your fingers to push the soil down firmly around the seedling.
Mix together 2 to 3 tbsp. of a liquid-based fertilizer such as 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 with 1 gallon of water. Water the zinnia seedlings with between 1 and 2 cups of the solution.
About this Author
Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on gardenguides.com. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.