I’ve always had a love for gardening, even as a young kid. Zinnias were the first flowers I planted from seed. I believe I’ve had some variety of zinnia in my yard every year since. The former statements should tell you just how easy zinnias are to grow. They are among the simplest of seeds to germinate and are very quick and reliable to bloom, taking about 6 weeks from germination to bud formation.
Right now, I have pinwheel zinnias in my back yard grown from seed and a pot of the beautiful Magellan Coral variety sitting on my patio that I found in a one gallon container on clearance at Wal-Mart this weekend. The pinwheel variety has blooms similar to daisies while the Magellan varieties produce huge, full-figured 5-inch blooms. There are many, many other varieties of zinnias to choose from, depending on the height and look you wish to accomplish.
Zinnias are summer annuals of the Asterceae family that prefer full sun. However, in the warmer climates of the U.S., Zone 6 and to the south, zinnias can benefit from a bit of shade in the late afternoon. As mentioned above, they are available in just about every size, shape and color except blue – and thus can enhance any landscape. You can purchase miniature varieties of less than 12 inches in height to giant varieties that grow up to 4 feet tall. There are those that produce tiny, warmed-hued pom-pom blooms and then there are those that produce giant pom-poms with pastel candy-striped petals.
Zinnias are relatively pest and disease free especially if planted with good air circulation in mind. Fungus may appear on leaves in crowded situations and when the plants are routinely watered from above where droplets are left on the leaves. Aphids, mealybugs and spider mites may also become problems late in the summer season. Garden Safe Fungicide3 or any other type of neem oil are natural products worth investing in at the first indication of any of these issues and ones which will surely extend the life of your ornamentals.
Not only are zinnias beautiful, but their bright, long-lasting blooms are beneficial in attracting other natural beauties to your garden – butterflies and bees. If you’d like to enjoy zinnias this year, it truly isn’t too late. As I did, you may find a few plants on clearance and chose to place them as fillers in your present landscape. Or, you may wish to sow a few late seeds in a sunny, open spot for blooms that will develop just in time for a nice, fall display.
Until next time,