Growing Zinnia Flowers From Seeds, Planting Guide

Introduction to Growing Zinnia Flowers from Seeds: Zinnia flowers are one of the easiest flowers to grow from seed. Zinnia plants are annuals, so they’ll grow for one season and produce seeds, but the original plant will not come back in subsequent years. Zinnia flowers grow quickly, making them a great choice for first-time flower growers. Zinnia belongs to the Asteraceae family and also known as the daisy family. It is a bushy plant or sub-shrub with tolerance to low-temperature levels, but it cannot survive the frost. Each type has a slightly different leaf shape. Zinnia plants are ideal plants for beginner gardeners, as they require minimal care. The botanical name of Zinnia is Zinnia sp. There are different types of Zinnias, but the most common is Zinnia elegans. In this article we also covered the below topics about growing Zinnia flowers;

  • How do you care for Zinnias
  • Tips on growing and caring Zinnia flowers
  • Do Zinnia flowers need full sun
  • How to grow Zinnia plants
  • Do Zinnias need lots of water
  • Zinnia container care and maintenance
  • Can I Plant Zinnias in Pots
  • How much time it takes for Zinnia seeds to sprout
  • What is the best fertilizer for Zinnias

A Step-by-Step Planting Guide to Growing Zinnia Flowers from Seeds

Zinnia Flowers
Zinnia Flowers (Image credit: pixabay)

Zinnia flowers are a colorful addition to the flower garden. Zinnia flowers grown in containers add color to an apartment terrace, a garden patio, or any other outdoor spot. When selecting plants for potting, add some Zinnias for blossoms that keep coming all season long. Zinnias grow as annuals and come in many different sizes, with flowers in varied shapes and vivid colors. Growing Zinnias is easy, requiring only a little care at the start and some tidying during the season.

Zinnia flowers are one of the most colorful flowers that we can have in our garden. Also, the flowers are in different colors including whites, yellows, pinks and reds, lavenders, and greens. No matter what kind of Zinnia you grow, it will require a full sun location, which will help the Zinnia bloom more and grow healthier.

Quick Overview about Growing Zinnia Flowers

  • Botanical Name – Zinnia elegans
  • Plant Type – Annual shrubs
  • Mature Size – 1-4 ft. tall, 12-18 in. wide
  • Sun Exposure – Full sun
  • Soil Type – Well-draining
  • Soil pH – 5.5-7.5
  • Maturity  – 60 to 75 days from seed to flower
  • Height – 18 to 24 inches
  • Spacing – About 6 to 12 inches apart in all directions
  • Bloom Time – Late spring until the first frost, but show a slow-down in blooming at the peak of heat in the summer season.
  • Color – Flowers bloom in shades of orange, pink, purple, lavender, green, red, white, and yellow and there are also bi-color and tri-color varieties. Leaves are pale to mid-green.
  • Native Area – South America, Mexico, southwestern United States
  • Toxicity – Non-toxic to humans, pets, and livestock

Different Types of Zinnias

The popular Zinnia plant species is Zinnia elegans. The three kinds of Zinnia flowers are single, semi-double, or double. Then, the distinction between these forms comes from the number of rows of petals and whether or not the center of the flower is visible;

  • Single-flowered Zinnia plants have a single row of petals and a visible center.
  • Double-flowered Zinnia plants have numerous rows of petals and their centers are not visible.
  • Semi double-flowered Zinnia plants are somewhere in-between, with numerous rows of petals but visible centers.

In addition to these forms, Zinnia flowers come in several shapes like “beehive,” “button,” and “cactus.” Also, the plants themselves come in different heights like taller varieties are best for the garden bed, while shorter varieties work well along a border. There’s a Zinnia for every garden.

Zinnia plants 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 and easy annual, you can tuck Zinnias around other plants or make a full Zinnia patch. Then, mix up height and color has fun playing with the many options Zinnias provide without having to cater to pickier plants.

Some other varieties to check out include;

  • ‘Envy’ – bright, chartreuse green blooms
  • ‘Carousel’ – multicolored and sturdy
  • Burpee ‘Rose Giant Cactus’ – It is a vintage feel and full, pointed petals
  • ‘Will Rogers’ – with shocking red and large blooms

Choosing a Planting Site and Soil for Growing Zinnia Flowers

Choosing a location that gets full sun is essential for growing Zinnia flowers. Good air circulation will help to prevent foliar diseases such as powdery mildew disease later in the season.

Zinnia plants are adaptable to most soil conditions, but the ideal soil will be rich in organic matter and well-drained. For growing Zinnia plants, the soil pH level should be between 5.5 and 7.5.

Zinnia plants prefer well-drained soil, rather than heavy, dense garden soil or clay soils. Prepare the soil in the bed where you want to grow Zinnia plants by turning it and loosening it, mixing in peat moss and sand for drainage, and compost to add organic matter. Zinnia plants can grow in average soils but it is best to condition the soil first. Soil conditioning can be done by adding compost or by combining it with potting soil. Then, spread some sifted compost and scatter thinly over the planting area. Zinnia plants love moist soil with good drainage.

Do Zinnias Need Full Sun?

Locate your Zinnia plants in an area that will get at least 6 hours of sun each day and where there is well-draining soil. Zinnia plants need full sun for best growth and full flowering. Zinnia plants need full sun, and when they don’t have enough light, they will keep growing up and up until they finally reach the light. If there is no light up higher, the plants will send out a bloom as a last-ditch effort. The Zinnia flower bloom will be small (Zinnias in full sun will have large, and ball-like blooms), and the leaves will be small. Next time give your Zinnia flower full sun, and if you don’t have that kind of light in your location, try growing a flower that needs lower light.

Grow and Care for Zinnias in Containers/Pots

Zinnia plants can grow in any type of container like plastic or clay pots, wooden half-barrels, a window box, or a hanging basket, but select a container that has at least one drainage hole and this helps to prevent fungal growth. Though, disinfect a previously used container to kill disease organisms or pests before use by soaking it in a solution that’s one part bleach to nine parts water for 10 minutes, and then clean it with water that contains a little dish detergent, and rinse well.

Zinnia plants come in many sizes, from varieties that grow about 2 feet tall to dwarf cultivars only 6 inches high. A good rule of thumb for plant spacing is to set one Zinnia plant growing in a 6-inch pot, 3 plants in a 10-inch pot, and up to 5 Zinnia plants in a 14-inch pot.

Zinnia Flower Season in India

Zinnia flowers are more colorful and long-lasting than the flower garden. Generally, Zinnia flowers are like a beautiful spot for your garden. These flowers come in a different variety of colors and also their soothing aroma does attract a butterfly which only adds up to the landscape. These flowers blossom in the late summers of India and are low maintenance.

When Do Zinnias Bloom?

One of the easiest annual plants to grow, Zinnia flowers bring an explosion of color wherever they go. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers that bloom in nearly every bright color imaginable.

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Zinnia Bloom.
Zinnia Bloom (pic source: pixabay)

Zinnia plants are best started from seed and can be sown directly in the garden after the threat of frost has passed. If you’d like to get a jump on them and start earlier indoors, try peat pots or containers that can be planted directly in the ground, as Zinnia plants can be a bit finicky when transplanted. Sow seeds about ¼-inch deep and carefully follow spacing directions on the seed package. Give them sunshine and water and you will have seedlings popping up in 4 to 7 days. Thin the seedlings to a spacing of about 6 to 18 inches depending on plant variety by snipping at the soil line with scissors. Zinnia plants grow quickly and you’ll have beautiful bright blooms in about 60 days.

How Long Do Zinnias Bloom

Zinnia plants grow best in a sunny location. If you are growing Zinnias in pots, use a rich potting mix with good drainage.

Depending on the climate conditions, planting site, and variety, the Zinnias should bloom anywhere from several weeks to several months. Deadheading spent blooms to promote additional Zinnia flowers, and the blooms attract beneficial pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies. Zinnia flowers are attractive additions to cottage, butterfly, and cutting gardens. They are drought-tolerant once established.

Choose a Pot for Growing Zinnia Flowers

The key to successfully growing Zinnia flowers is to choose the right container. These Zinnia plants are quite adaptable and thrive in a wide variety of containers.

For growing Zinnia flowers in pots, you can choose one that is at least 6 inches deep. The first thing to consider is the size of the container for growing Zinnia flowers. The spread of the roots and foliage all depend on the plant cultivar.

For a single plant, you can choose a container that’s only 6 inches across. You don’t have to stop there, though. You can easily grow several Zinnia plants in one container to achieve a full and lush look. If you can grow Zinnias as well in pots as in the ground as suggested by experts. But you need to provide them with the required plant nutrients, sunlight, and moisture.

Once you have Zinnia plants growing in pots, care for them is easy. Make sure the container has drainage holes, so you don’t get standing water or soggy roots. Deadhead Zinnias as the blooms fade to promote more flower production. Trim each dead flower off at the stem, which will stimulate more growth to keep the plant bushy and full. Make sure the foliage stays dry and has good air circulation to prevent fungal infections like powdery mildew disease.

How to Germinate Zinnia Seeds

Zinnia seeds are easy to germinate indoors and are known to germinate within about 7 to 10 days after sowing. Depending on the plant variety grown, they can range in height from 12 inches up to 48 inches tall and can be spaced anywhere between 8 to 24 inches apart. It’s always best to refer to your seed packet for additional information on specific growth habits, such as height and spacing.

Growing Zinnia flowers can be inexpensive, particularly when growing them from seed. Start seeds about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Growing Zinnia flowers from seed are easy to process. Plant the Zinnia seeds only about ¼-inch deep. You’ll see seedlings sprout in 7 to 10 days. Once the seedlings reach about three inches tall, thin them so that they’re 8 to 12 inches apart to maximize air circulation, a key to keeping Zinnias looking good all season.

In cooler climate conditions, start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before your area’s average last frost date. Harden off the plants by vacationing trays outside for a few hours per day before planting them in the garden. Depending on the size of the mature plant space the Zinnia seeds properly, several inches to a couple of feet apart (10-60 cm.). Then, this allows for adequate air circulation around the plants as they grow. Powdery mildew and other diseases can attack Zinnia plants that are planted too close together or that remain wet from overhead watering. While the widest range of Zinnia colors and heights comes from planting seeds, the popular flower is available in starter packs as well at your local garden center.

Tips for Growing Zinnias

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Pink Zinnias
Pink Zinnias (pic credit: pixabay)
  • Zinnia care must include watering at the base of the plant.
  • Mature Zinnia plants require less watering, as grown flowers are somewhat drought tolerant. With correct watering, Zinnia plants provide long-term color and beauty in the summer flower bed.
  • Generally, Zinnia plants benefit from deadheading and flower removal. Clipping the plant back results in more abundant blooms. Also, when learning how to grow Zinnia, remember that pinching back results in a bushier and more attractive plant. If you’re looking to add some bright color, grow Zinnia flowers in your summer garden this year.
  • Plant Zinnias in mixed plantings with other summer-blooming annuals plants, or place small groups of Zinnias among perennials.
  • Shorter Zinnia plant varieties are ideal for containers. Take care not to overcrowd them or the flowers can be significantly smaller than they should be and the plants may be taller. Always use a commercial potting mix, do not use garden soil, and make sure the growing containers have adequate drainage.
  • Container grown Zinnia plants will require extra water and fertilizer, look for signs of wilt or a nutrient deficiency. Zinnia plants attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and beneficial insects.

Watering Your Zinnia Flowers

Water the Zinnia plant regularly, for a total of about 1 inch per week. They can tolerate dry conditions, and they will do much better with consistent moisture in the soil. Keep excess moisture away from the foliage by watering at the base of the plant, and this will help keep your plant healthy and prevent disease. It is imperative to obtain supplemental irrigation, mainly if you are situated in a hot and dry location and producing specialty cut flowers like Zinnias. It is best to water the plants early morning to allow Zinnia flowers and foliage to dry before nightfall. Also, excessive water is dangerous to Zinnia plants.

Overhead watering should be avoided as it can damage the flower such as spots on the petals, mildew, and other plant diseases. Instead of spraying the plant leaves, sprinkle the water directly into the soil using a soaker hose. Then, this will keep the petals and leaves dry while giving a sufficient water supply. Better yet, construct drip irrigation to directly apply water on the ground, not on the plant leaves and flowers. The weather and growth of Zinnia plants will determine how much and how frequently you must water them. Keep in mind that inadequate watering will decrease quality and production, whereas waterlogged soils may cause root rot and hamper plant growth.

Pests and Diseases Management for Growing Zinnia Flowers

Bacterial and fungal spots, powdery mildew, and bacterial wilt can affect Zinnia plants. Minimize wetting of foliage and space Zinnia plants properly to avoid disease. Caterpillars, mealybugs, and spider mites also cause problems in Zinnia plants.

Zinnia plants have few insect pests, but aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies may damage plants, especially during hot, dry weather. Then, spider mites thrive in hot, dry weather; and reducing drought stress with supplemental irrigation will help prevent an infestation. Spray applications of insecticidal soap can be applied to control spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies, but always spray flowering plants in the late evening to prevent harming beneficial insects or hummingbirds.

The most common problem for Zinnias is powdery mildew disease. To prevent it, there is good air circulation around the plants, and that they are not too close together. Mildew likes cool and wet conditions, so water during the day instead of at night. Water carefully, directing the water at the base of the Zinnia plant, into the soil, to prevent water from staying on leaves and stems. Some Zinnia plant growers use preventative applications of fungicide before powdery mildew develops since it is so common. Also, there are mildew-resistant hybrid cultivars of Zinnia now available. Alternaria, or leaf spot, also can afflict Zinnia plants but can be prevented with good air circulation and regular deadheading. Also pinch off any diseased, dying, or damaged parts of the Zinnia plants and discard them to prevent disease spread.

Zinnia plants can suffer from insect pests as well, of which the most probably are aphids and spider mites. Carefully pick them off by hand, or wash them off the pants with a targeted stream of water from a spray bottle. Regular watering and fertilizing can control insects. The fertilizing strengthens the plant, and watering helps counteract hot, dry weather conditions, which creates prime conditions for insect pests.

Zinnia Flowers Growing Problems

Foliage Curls, Puckers, Turns Yellow Due To Aphids

If they have infested a lot of the foliage, spray them with commercial insecticidal soap based on label instructions. And, be sure the soap spray contacts the aphids directly.

Brown Spots on Flowers Is Caused By Stem Blight

Blight is caused by a fungus that causes small reddish-brown color spots with gray centers to form on Zinnia flowers. Sometimes dark brown cankers form on their stems. Then, spray healthy Zinnias plant surfaces with a garden sulfur fungicide as directed on the label.

Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Zinnia Flowers from Seed

Can Zinnias grow in small pots?

Zinnia plants can grow in any type of containers but select a container that has at least one drainage hole.

Why are my Zinnia seeds not germinating?

Zinnias thrive best in full sunlight, requiring 6 hours per day. Too little amount of sunlight for too long will prevent new Zinnias from germinating and seedlings from developing.

Why are my Zinnias not doing well?

Fungal infections can reach new Zinnia plants in the soil or through the air. Brown spot, powdery mildew disease, and southern blight are all caused by fungi. Once infected, young Zinnia plants are likely to forfeit, so remove and destroy infected plants to avoid the spread of fungal spores.

Why are my Zinnias dying?

Zinnias can be prone to several bugs as well as the most common problem is powdery mildew disease, which is a disease that turns the leaves whitish, then brown color. The holes can be due to Japanese beetles or to a couple of other smaller beetles that sometimes eat Zinnia leaves.

Should I start my Zinnias indoors or outdoors?

Zinnias can be started indoors or directly in the garden. If you have good conditions for growing Zinnias indoors such as plant lights, a heat mat for germination, then you can get a head start by starting them indoors. But Zinnias are easy to direct sow and bloom fairly quickly from seed so direct sowing can be a better option for some gardeners.

Can I grow Zinnias as a houseplant?

Zinnias require full sun and hot temperature conditions to grow well and may not perform well in many homes. Shorter plant varieties may be tried in a warm sunroom during the summer.

Are Zinnias a perennial?

Zinnia plants are one of the few plants that are true annuals. Many plants labelled as annuals are perennials that are hardy in the warmest hardiness zones, but Zinnias will be annuals everywhere.

Can you grow Zinnias in pots?

You can grow Zinnias in pots as long as you select one that is at least 6 inches deep. You need to grow plants in the warm season and provide at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

How long do Zinnias take to grow?

Zinnia plants don’t take long at all to reach maturity. Whether you plant Zinnia from seed or young seedlings, you’ll experience rapid growth once the weather warms up. On average, it takes approximately 60 days for the plant to start blooming.

How tall do Zinnias grow?

There are dwarf Zinnia varieties 6 to 12 inches tall and wide, and other varieties grow up to 4 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide.

Should I soak Zinnia seeds before planting?

Seeds can be planted indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost and the seedlings can be easily transplanted into your outdoor garden later on. Also, it is best to soak dried seeds in water for 4 to 6 hours before planting.



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