Zinnias are one of the quinessential summer flowers. People who do not know their name, would probably still recognize them and their bright color and happy face.
Did you know that there are many, many varieties of zinnias? They come in different heights, shapes, and colors. Double blooms, single blooms, cactus style… There is a zinnia for everyone.
Zinnias are annuals which means they have to be planted annually. They are one of the simplest flowers to grow. They are usually available as plants in garden centers in the spring but are also one of the easiest flowers to grow from seed.
Zinnias germinate quickly, which means they sprout soon after being planted, and grow fast. Some varieties are considered dwarf varieties growing under 12′ tall. These work well in a landscape. The cut flower varieties (which we will talk about here) grow between 2-3′ tall.
Zinnias like the heat. They should be planted in full sun and don’t have any problems dealing with a hot summer. They do not need a lot of water, either. Of course they need some but can go several days without.
One of the only issues with zinnias are that they are prone to powdery mildew which can be difficult to get rid of. Prevention is key. Try to only water zinnias at the base and space them far enough apart (usually 9-12″) for better air flow.
Another zinnia bonus is that pollinators love them. A row of zinnias will draw in many types of bees and butterflies.
They look beautiful growing in the landscape but also do well as cut flowers and will last several days in a vase, especially if you follow these tips.
- Cut in the cooler part of the day. First thing in the morning is best but you can also cut them in the evening. Cutting them in the hottest part of the day causes too much stress and they will probably wilt.
- Cut when the stems are stiff. Do a wiggle test. If the stem gives, it’s not ready. Try a few. It’s easy to feel the strength in the stem vs. the softer stems once you have tried a few.
- Cut low. Zinnias are a cut and come again flower, meaning the will keep producting blooms all summer. Cut the stems low so that the plant will grow another stem from the base, resulting in a longer stem which will work better in a vase.
- Change the water often. Zinnias are considered “dirty flowers” which means the water will discolor faster than some other flowers. Change the water daily and you won’t have any problems.
Are you a fan of zinnias? Have a favorite? Let me know in the comments.