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I’m getting ready to add border flowers along our patio edge. There are several flowers that make great additions to a patio border, such as zinnias. Today, I want to talk to you about how to grow zinnias in your spring garden.
Zinnias are great flowers to add to your spring or summer garden. I grew some from seed last year and they did not disappoint. My zinnias grew a few feet tall and rebloomed colorful flowers for several months.
Why Grow Zinnias?
If you are a beginner gardener, these are great flowers to start with. If you are hesitant to grow them from seeds, garden centers have plants you can start with as well.
Zinnia flowers are easy to grow and will produce plenty of flowers during the growing season. One plant will keep reblooming when grown correctly. Counting on what variety you get, each flower may be a different color as well!
If you want to attract pollinators to your garden, plant zinnias. Hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other insects and birds will come from all over to feast on your colorful zinnias. Add zinnias to your hummingbird and butterfly garden to keep attracting these critters back.
Grow Zinnias from Seeds
I am really enjoying growing plants from seeds. It takes weeks to a few months to see flowers, but its really rewarding to grow a plant from seeds.
If you choose to grow zinnias from seeds, there are many great seed resources out there. I wrote a post on where to get seeds from that you can read too.
The latest packets of seeds I bought were from Walmart. They sell several brands of seeds at great prices. There are plenty of places to buy seeds online and at other retailers as well.
I have a mini indoor greenhouse, but also use eggcrates. Purchase some seed starting soil to help those seeds germinate.
Plant more seeds than you plan to grow, since some will not sprout. Once my seedlings grew taller than the eggcrate lids, I would transfer them to a container or ground.
This is also a good time to thin the seedlings out. Since you plant more seeds than you need, you will have many seedlings trying to grow in small spaces. You want to get rid of the stragglers so they don’t prevent other nearby seedlings from growing.
There are several ways you can do this. You can clip the weaker seedlings to be level with the soil. You can also transplant the smaller seedlings to another place to let them grow where they will have more room to do so.
If you are going with option one, use garden scissors to snip off the weaker seedlings.
Grow Zinnias from Plants
Another option is to purchase plants from a local gardening store or online gardening supplier. When I first started gardening, this is how I would grow plants. Since I lived in an apartment with a balcony, I would buy plants small enough to fit in containers.
I would purchase plants a little smaller than the containers they would grow in to give them room to fill out. It worked great and still does!
Grow Zinnias in Containers
Once you find plants that you like, you will want to purchase or find containers that will be a little larger than your zinnias.
Make sure your container has holes at the bottom. Water needs to be able to drain from your container. If there are no holes, water will sit at the bottom, rotting the roots and ultimately killing your plant. You don’t want that to happen!
Fill the bottom of your container with potting soil. I usually use Miracle Gro Potting Soil, but lately have been using a hybrid mix that works great. Gently pull the zinnias out of the plastic pot they came in.
Grow Zinnias in the Ground
I decided to grow my zinnias along the edge of my patio. I cleared the ground of weeds and debris. I then laid a thin layer of ground soil on top of the soil already there. Once my seedlings were ready, I carefully scooped each out with my hand shovel and placed them in a small hole I made.
I spaced out each seedling by about 6 inches to give them room to grow. I then lightly watered each seedling. Despite some heavy rain we have had, they seem to be doing well!
If you plan on growing more mature plants in the ground, you want to get the soil ready before planting. Make sure you know your soil before planting. The ground around here is clay based, so mixing with in ground garden soil helps make it less dense.
Spread about two to three inches of the garden soil on the ground where you will be planting. Mix into the native soil about six to eight inches deep. Dig a hole that is deep enough for your zinnia plant.
When you take your plant out of the plastic container, gently pull on some of the roots. This will let the plant know it can start growing outward. Place the plant in the hole and fill the surrounding area with soil.
An optional step is placing a few inches of mulch around your new zinnia plant. This helps keep the moisture in the ground and discourages weeds from growing.
Caring for Your Zinnia Flowers
Once your zinnias are planted, give them plenty of water. Zinnias prefer moist soil, so once they are settled and mature, give them a deep watering several times a week. Don’t over water though!
You can always adjust your watering schedule, based on how wet the soil is BELOW THE SURFACE. You can buy a soil moisture meter or do it by hand. Stick your finger all the way to the second knuckle to feel for moist soil.
Containers will need more water since they dry out quickly, so keep this in mind when watering your containers.
Add fertilizer to get bigger and more frequent blooms from your zinnia plants. You can mix fertilizer into your soil when you first plant a mature zinnia. I’ve used Miracle-Gro’s all purpose fertilizer, but was recently introduced to Dr. Earth fertilizer.
Both work great. Just remember to fertilize a wet plant. A dry plant that is fertilized can burn and die. Trust me, I’ve had this happen to my plants before!
Types of Zinnia Flowers
Just like with other flowers, there are a variety of zinnia flowers to choose from. Some varieties of zinnia flowers include:
- Giants of California-These zinnias can grow up to 3 feet tall and come in an assortment of colors
- Zesty Mix-This variety comes in brightly colored flowers
- Semi Dwarf Pumila-This smaller variety grow up to 18 to 24 inches and come in pretty pastels
- Raspberry Lemonade Mix-These summery flowers grow in pink, yellow, and white with pink stripes
- Amethyst Treasure-This hybrid blooms in a vibrant purple.
- Early Bird-These zinnias bloom small, colorful flowers and grow up to 20 to 25 inches tall.
- State Fair Mix-This is a variety of large colorful blooms.
- Queen Lime Orange-These stunning flowers come in a combination of green and orange.
- Cut and Come Again-Double blooms in orange, pink, white, and yellow make these stand out.
- Candy Cane Mix-This heirloom variety grow flecked and striped flowers.
Check out more great varieties of zinnia seeds at Botanical Interests!
Zinnia Flower Facts
Sometimes I like adding fun fact about flowers. Maybe you will find some of these facts interesting! Here are some facts about zinnia flowers:
- Zinnia flowers are originally from South American, Mexico, and Southwestern United States.
- They were thought of as ugly flowers before zinnias became popular.
- Zinnias symbolize friendship
- These flowers are self sowing; they can scatter seeds without help
- The name zinnia comes from the German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn
- Zinnias come in just about any color, besides blue, and can be multi-colored, based on the variety
- Zinnias make great cut flowers and can last up to a week after being cut.
How to Grow Zinnias
Now that you know how to grow zinnias, are you ready to grow your own? What is your favorite variety to grow, or which ones are you planning on growing in your garden? Let me know in the comments section below!