How to Grow and Care For Zinnia Flowers Without Much Effort

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Zinnias are flowers that do not require a lot of effort, and yet delight with a wide range of bright colors and shapes. These flowers can beautify your garden or be an excellent decoration in your living room.

Here you will learn all about Grow and Care for Zinnia Flowers. With numerous tips, you will become an expert in growing these beauties.

Are you ready? Off we go!

Quick Guide

Plant Family

Asteraceae

Plant Genus

Zinnia

Life Cycle 

An annual plant mostly

Planting

From seed

Bloom Time

From late spring through fall

Flower Color

Pink, purple, yellow, red, white, orange, bicolor, tricolor variants.

Soil 

Well-draining soil, rich. Ph between 5,5 and 7,5

Watering

3x per week. Be careful: overwatering!

Height

Depends on the type. Minor variants: 6 to 12 inches tall. Others: up to 4 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide

Sun Exposure 

Full sun

Hardiness Zone

Annual in USDA zones 2-8. Perennial in zones USDA 9-11.

Basic Facts About Zinnias

Get to know the basic characteristics of this annual plant.

Origin and history

Zinnia flowers originates from Northwestern USA, Mexico, Central America, and South Amerika. The Aztecs called it “plants that are hard on the eyes” because of its very bright colors.

 These plants arrived on European soil in the 1500s. However, they became popular only after the 1700s. German biologist Johann Gottfried Zinn first described Zinnia flower in the 18th century. As you can conclude, this plant was named after him.

The Appearance of Zinnia Flowers

These beautiful flowers have one flowerhead, which is on an upright stem. The flower can be in all possible colors of the rainbow, depending on the species. We usually see pink, purple, yellow, red, white, and orange flowers.

Flowerhead can come in many forms. Some remind us of daisies, some of cacti, stars, dahlias, spiders, or buttons. Cactus shape Zinnias has giant blooms, and curved petals.

The height of the stem varies depending on the species. Dwarf forms are 6 to 12 inches tall, while others reach up to 4 feet, such as Cactus like Zinnias.

Let’s look at the types of this flower and complete our idea of their appearance.

Types of Zinnias

There are 3 main types:

  • Single-flowered zinnias have a single row of petals and a visible center.
  • Double-flowered zinnias have many rows of petals and the center is not visible.
  • Semi-double flowered zinnias are something between the previous two types.     

Orange Zinnia flower

The most common variations

  • Zinnia Elegans is the most famous. It is a bushy plant, 1-3 feet tall, has large semi-double to double blooms. The most widespread is “Benary’s Giant”-5 inch full blooms, mildew resistant, comes in 13 colors.
  • Zinnia Angustifolia is used in borders, hanging baskets thanks to its low growing nature. In its dwarf form it reaches a height of only 6 inches. Some can be up to 3 feet tall.
  • Zinnia Haagena reaches a height of up to 2 feet, has smaller flowers 1-2 inches in diameter. They are bi-colored.

Perennial zinnia varieties 

  • Zinnia grandiflora is native to the Rocky Mountains and Mexico and tolerates colder winters.
  • Zinnia acerosa originates from Arizona, Texas and Mexico. It has white flowers with yellow at its center.

These two varieties attract hummingbirds and bees.

More Known Variants 

“Orange star” is a dwarf form with orange flowers.
“Dreamland” is a dwarf form with double flowerheads.
“Zahara” is resistant to mildew and has large flowers.
The “Envy” variety is 30 inches tall and has double or semi-double flowers.

Planting

Orange Zinnia flower outdoorsZinnia flower is an annual plant, which means it only grows for one season. It does not tolerate frost and cold temperatures (with some exceptions).

Plant your Zinnias when the frost passes and warmer weather begins.

These flowers should be planted in a place where there is sun, at least 6 hours a day. Also, the place for planting should have good air flow, which prevents the occurrence of plant diseases.

It is best to plant from seed, because transplants rarely succeed.

If you are planting in the garden, insert the seeds directly into the ground after the last frost, when the soil has warmed up a bit. You can do that until the end of June.

If you want to start planting indoors, it is best to do that 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. I recommend to use a biodegradable container. It can later be placed directly in the garden, because, as I mentioned before, transplantation usually fails.

The recommended distance between seeds or seedlings is 6-24 inches. That depends on the type of flower (check the packaging of seeds). Row distance should be 12 inches. Plant the seeds 1/4 inch deep.

These flowers grow relatively quickly. It takes 5 to 7 days for the seeds to germinate.

The first flowers start after a few weeks or a few months, at a temperature of 10 C, and above. The plant thrives best at a temperature of 74-84 F (23 to 28 C).

 If you grow vegetables, consider including these flowers. Zinnias attract a variety of beneficial insects that eat pests that can destroy your crops.

Soil

These flowers do not require special soil conditions. They can grow in various places, even very inhospitable.

Adult plants can withstand drought for long periods of time. However, young plants that have just started their growth are best suited to moderately moist soil. So they should be watered regularly.

The most important thing is that the soil is well-drained.

Of course, the addition of mulch, compost (humus) or fertilizer will only speed up the progress of the plant, making it grow faster.

The recommendation for soil pH is between 5.5 and 7.5.

Care for Zinnia Flowers

This is a low maintenance plant that attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Zinnias can be grown in the garden or used as cut flowers. 

Dark blue butterfly on purple Zinnia flower outdoors

Watering

Water your Zinnia flowers 3 times a week at the base of the plants. it is best to do that early in the morning.

Overwatering

Excessive watering of these flowers should be avoided. This can lead to
the development of powdery mildew, rot, thereby damaging the plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Zinnia flowers like high temperatures and bloom until the first frosts. As soon as it gets cold and frost appears, bring them into the house.

Pruning

Zinnias should be pruned often, starting when they grow to a height of several inches. Carry out deadheading (cutting off dried flowers) regularly. You can also cut whole stems for vases in your house.

 In this way, their growth is accelerated and air circulation is enhanced. Pruning also prevents plant diseases. This will encourage further and more lush flower growth.

Note: Don’t be afraid of pruning!

Light

It is best for your Zinnia flowers to be in a sunny place for at least 6 hours a day.

Fertilization

It is not necessary, but it will certainly contribute to the better progress of the flowers. Fertilize occasionaly with a small amount of fertilizer. 

Propagation

Propagation is best done from seeds. Wait for the flower to fully ripen, until it turns brown, and then collect the seeds.

Store the seeds in a dark and cool place. Seeds from hybrid varieties will most likely not produce the same plant as a parent plant.

Pests

Diseases do not often attack Zinnia flowers, but what can occur is powdery mildew. That can’t really harm them.

 The disease can occur in plants that are close to each other and where there is not good air circulation. In that case, remove the damaged parts. Then apply fungicide with neem oil.

Overwatering can also cause plant disease.

Let’s mention some of diseases:

  • Bacterial and fungal spots, powdery mildew and bacterial wilt (do not plant Zinnias too close, provide good circulation, and please without overwatering).
  • Caterpillars (remove by hand), mealybugs, spider mites. Insecticidal soap should only be applied when the infestation has become widespread.  

An insect Japanese beetles eats mostly leaves of Zinnias. They come quickly, they leave even faster. Just take them by hand and put them in soapy water.

More interesting things about Zinnias

Here are some spicy details about this flower.

Safety

Zinnia flowers are not toxic for children or animals. They are not interesting for animals to eat.

Zynnia x Hybrida

This is a combination of Zinnia Elegans and Zinnia Angustifolia. This is a dwarf form, 3 to 5 inches in diameter. But some can reach a height of 12 to 15 inches.They are much shorter and bushier than originals.

Zinnia x Hybrida is characterized by disease resistance of the latter. They are shades of gold, white, orange and red in color. Their flowers are daisy like, single layers of long petals.   

Zynnia x Hybrida are annual plants. However, they can survive the winter In USDA hardiness zones 9-11.

Bouquets of Flowers

To make a flower arrangement, you need to know the right time to cut the flowers. When you shake the stem and the flowerhead does not move while the stem is firm, it is the right time for your bouquet.

Conclusion

I hope you learned a lot about how to Grow and Care For Zinnia Flowers. These low maintenance flowers tell you that warmer weather is coming. Don’t waste time and get a pack of seeds to plant these beauties.

If you have any suggestions or question about Zinnias feel free to join the discussion. Please leave a comment below.

 
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