How to Plant Zinnia Seeds
The Spruce / Candace Madonna
If you have dreams of growing an organic garden from A-Z, you may want to start at the end with some easy-growing, gorgeous zinnias. With broad blossoms, bright colors, and next to nothing to worry about ruining your tending efforts, zinnias are some of the easiest and most rewarding flowers to grow. Learn how to plant zinnia seeds for the best return and make a major impact on your garden or landscape this year.
Types and Varieties
Considering the height, color, and shape combinations, there are dozens and dozens of zinnia varieties to choose from. Since it’s so easy to collect seeds from zinnia plants, try sticking with heirloom varieties that will produce reliable replicas year after year. Still, there are lots of options when deciding which zinnias to plant.
Zinnias come in a range of shape types, including varieties that resemble daisies or dahlias, tight blossoms in beehive shapes, small button blooms, and large floppy blossoms. As a quick, easy annual, you can tuck zinnias around other plants or make a full zinnia patch. Mix up height and color–have fun playing with the many options zinnias provide without having to cater to pickier plants.
Some fun varieties to check out include:
- ‘Envy’–bright, chartreuse green blooms
- ‘Carousel’–multicolored and sturdy
- Burpee ‘Rose Giant Cactus’–with a vintage feel and full, pointed petals
- ‘Will Rogers’–with shocking red, large blooms
Zinnias do best in full sun, so gather your collection of zinnia seeds, choose your space(s), and get ready to start your spring zinnias.
How to Start Zinnia Seeds
As a full sunflower that likes warm weather, zinnias need the air and soil to be warmed to the 70s F to germinate and begin to thrive. Unfortunately, they also dislike being transplanted. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the growing season, though. You still have a choice between starting zinnia seeds indoors or sowing seeds directly outdoors.
Sowing Seeds Outdoors
The easiest way to start zinnias is to plant them directly in their final beds outdoors. It takes air and soil of more than 70 F to germinate well, so wait until spring is firmly in place before planting zinnia seeds. Plant them about 1/4” right in the ground, spaced as much as your chosen variety needs, anywhere from a couple of inches to a couple of feet. Once they sprout, thin them carefully to encourage the strongest to thrive. Give enough space so that air can flow around the mature flowers, preventing disease.
Starting Seeds Indoors
If you want a jump on the growing season for some early spring color, you can get around zinnia’s aversion to transplanting. Start seeds in potting soil and peat pots about a month before the last frost. Once the soil is warmed enough for zinnias, you can plant the entire pot in the ground for an easy transition.
Zinnias like well-fed soil, so some compost worked into the ground early in the season will give the soil an edge before it’s time to get the zinnia seeds or plants in the ground. Moisture is important in early weeks, but make sure it doesn’t get soggy.
Zinnias will last for around two months, so stagger multiple plantings in the garden to keep zinnia flowers in the garden from spring through fall. Heavy humidity might be your only obstacle to constant zinnias all summer long.
Growing Beautiful Zinnias
It’s hard to pinpoint a real challenge to growing zinnias. Resistant to pests, happy in most soils, and prolific bloomers, zinnias are very nearly “set it and forget it” plants.
Water and sunlight will keep your zinnias blooming full and frequently. Too much water, on the other hand, will risk one of the only diseases zinnias are susceptible to mildew. Keep water to about an inch a week, from all sources. And, as with most plants, avoid spraying the foliage and flowers as much as possible and not at all during the heat of the day.
If you want full, bushy zinnia plants, pinch the top of the stems off of young plants. If you want to encourage tall zinnias, stake the largest so they don’t flop over.
“Harvesting” zinnias as cut flowers will also encourage full growth, telling the zinnia to keep producing blooms until some can go to seed. Cut the stems above leave or bud nodes and the stems will keep growing and producing new blooms.
Once a zinnia plant is done, you can remove it and plant something else in its place. For heirloom varieties, let one or two go-to seed and be sure to collect them for next year. Try to save seeds from zinnia plants that are tucked behind others to avoid having dying zinnias as a focal point.
Zinnias can be planted directly or transplanted into the garden. Here's a quick guide on how to easily grow them from seeds.
How to Plant Zinnias in Containers
21 September, 2017
Sow zinnia seeds directly into the container at a depth of a quarter inch. Cover the seeds with soil and water well. Place the container in area that receives sunlight and keep the soil moist. The seedlings should emerge in one to two weeks.
Zinnias make long lasting cut flowers.
Originally from Mexico, zinnias have become an annual favorite for gardeners wanting to spruce up their gardens with color. Zinnias are in the same family as daisies (Compositae). They are a warm season annual and are easy to grow from seed or container plants. Containers filled with colorful zinnias, are sure to brighten up any spot in your landscape. Once established, zinnias will require very little tending to. They are perfect for novice gardeners, as they can withstand a wide range of soil conditions and neglect.
Select a container to grow the zinnias in that has drain holes in the bottom. The size and shape of the container will not matter. Everything from regular planting pots (round or rectangular), hanging baskets, window boxes and even wooden barrels, can be used to plant the zinnias in.
- Originally from Mexico, zinnias have become an annual favorite for gardeners wanting to spruce up their gardens with color.
Consider the container’s size, when figuring out how many plants you will need to fill it. Zinnias require good air circulation between each other. Space each plant six to ten inches apart. This will give you an idea of how many plants will be required.
Select a type of zinnia that is best suited for the size of the container. Zinnias come in two sizes: tall, which grow three to four feet in height and dwarf, which grows eight to 14 inches in height. The taller the zinnia, the larger the container should be.
- Consider the container’s size, when figuring out how many plants you will need to fill it.
- The taller the zinnia, the larger the container should be.
Fill the container two-thirds of the way full, with a light potting mix that contains organic matter and peat moss. This will allow for proper drainage, which zinnias require. Though tolerant to many soil types, zinnias will not live if planted in a potting medium that remains soggy when watered.
Situate your zinnia plants on top of the soil the way they look best to you. If dealing with several different varieties or colors, space them out appropriately. Place the taller plants in the center. Space the shorter plants to its sides.
- Fill the container two-thirds of the way full, with a light potting mix that contains organic matter and peat moss.
- Situate your zinnia plants on top of the soil the way they look best to you.
Dig a small hole into the container that is large enough for the plants root ball to fit into it. Repeat this step for the remaining plants going into the container.
Fill in the remainder of the container with potting mix. Use your hand to firm the soil up around the base of the plants.
Water the container until it flows out of the drain hole in the bottom. Test the soil by sticking your finger into it. If it feels dry to the touch, give the container water. Zinnias are relatively drought-tolerant, but regular watering will help the plant thrive and produce more blooms.
- Dig a small hole into the container that is large enough for the plants root ball to fit into it.
- Use your hand to firm the soil up around the base of the plants.
Situate the container in an area that receives full sunlight or partial sun. Zinnias grow best in warm locations that receive sunshine. Make sure the zinnias receive at least 4 hours of sunlight each day.
Fertilize the zinnias with a 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer, once every two weeks. They are light feeders, but a periodic dose of fertilizer will help them retain their green foliage and produce more blooms.
Originally from Mexico, zinnias have become an annual favorite for gardeners wanting to spruce up their gardens with color. Zinnias are in the same family as daisies (Compositae). They are a warm season annual and are easy to grow from seed or container plants. Containers filled with colorful zinnias, are sure to …