My Love Affair with Zinnias: From Planting to Care

orange zinnia and other flowers in bouquet

For many, many years I have loved zinnias. They remind me of my childhood. So, please allow me to share how to care for zinnias so you, too, can begin your love affair with these beautiful flowers.

Background

My parents planted an entire row of zinnias in our garden each year adjacent to the row of green beans. As a child, I loved picking flowers but hated picking green beans.

My mother cut zinnias and made beautiful flower arrangements for our home. I have adopted this same practice. I love having beautiful flower arrangements in the house.

five jars with zinnia flower arrangements on a burlap runner on a table

Beautiful Zinnias!

First, check out these beautiful zinnias! They are colorful and just make me smile!

Building Our Zinnia Bed

Since living full-time at the lake, we have struggled to find the right spot to grow zinnias. They need full sun and we have a lot of trees (i.e. shade).

In years past, we have tried planting zinnias in containers on our side deck. This did not work well.

All this to say, my sweet Neal used a stack of leftover simulated stone from various DIY projects (our house, porch, outside fireplace, and inside fireplace) to make a zinnia flower bed by our shop.

What started off as a quick project of planting some zinnias turned into an almost full-day project of building a stone flower bed. Thank you, Neal!

We dug a little trench, strategically stacked the stone, lined the area with landscape fabric (no weeds allowed), added 14 bags of potting soil . . . and then finally planted a large back of zinnias. Whoo wee, that was a lot of work! Now (a few years later), we use my compost dirt to refresh the soil each year. It is rich in nutrients. Check out Composting for Beginners.

VOILA! We have a beautiful and functional zinnia flower bed – – all thanks to my talented Neal! 

This year, I had a little help planting zinnias from my precious grandson. We sprinkled the seeds and then used a rake to cover them up with dirt. Easy-peasy! And good memories too!

Here are our zinnias popping up!

Caring for Zinnias

Caring for zinnias is relatively straightforward, making them a popular choice. Here are some tips to help you nurture your zinnia plants:

  1. Sunlight: Zinnias thrive in full sunlight. Make sure they receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  2. Soil: Zinnias prefer well-drained soil with good organic content. They can tolerate a range of soil pH levels but generally prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil.
  3. Watering: Water your zinnias regularly, especially during dry periods. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal diseases; instead, water at the base of the plant. We installed an automated watering system.
  4. Mulching: Applying a layer of mulch around your zinnias can help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  5. Fertilization: Zinnias are not heavy feeders, but you can fertilize them lightly with a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season to encourage healthy growth and blooming.
  6. Deadheading: Regular deadheading (removing spent flowers) encourages continuous blooming throughout the growing season and prevents the plant from putting energy into seed production. (More on this later in this post)
  7. Support: Some taller varieties of zinnias may benefit from staking or support to prevent them from flopping over, especially in windy conditions.
  8. Pests and Diseases: Keep an eye out for common pests like aphids, spider mites, and powdery mildew. If you notice any signs of pest infestation or disease, take appropriate measures such as spraying with insecticidal soap or fungicide.
  9. Air Circulation: Adequate air circulation around zinnia plants can help prevent fungal diseases. Avoid overcrowding them and space them according to their mature size.
  10. Winter Care: In areas with frost, zinnias are typically grown as annuals. If you want to save seeds for the next season, allow some flowers to mature and dry on the plant. Harvest the seeds and store them in a cool, dry place for planting in the following spring.

With proper care, zinnias can reward you with an abundance of colorful blooms throughout the growing season, attracting butterflies and other pollinators to your garden.

And Watch them Grow!

Check out our Zinnia garden now (early July) . . . these are beautiful and hearty flowers!

Here is another mid-summer photo.

I also get some help from my friends.

Zinnia Flower Arrangements

Take time to pick some zinnias and brighten up your home!

It has become my practice to make flower arrangements for my neighbors.

Check out How to Arrange Zinnias or any Fresh Flowers in a Vase (and other ideas).

Deadheading . . . and Seeding Your Zinnia Garden Next Spring!

When my zinnias in flower arrangements start to wilt, I cut the blooms off, and about once a week, I deadhead (cut flower heads off) in my zinnia garden.

This helps more blooms to grow. However, one major benefit is that I harvest the seeds for the following spring. I put all the zinnia blooms in a dark closet and let them dry out. Once dry (typically late winter), I sit and pull apart all the dried blossoms for the seeds. I don’t take time to separate the seeds and petals but just plant the petals with the seeds as good compost.

I produce so many seeds that I put them in baggies and give them to friends and family so they can experience the joy of zinnias. My church even used my zinnia seeds to give to the congregation symbolizing planting the seeds of Christ with others.

 And there you have it!

Check out our post about Composting for Beginners, Flowers that Not Only Survive But Thrive for this “Wannabe” Master Gardener, and Caring for Geraniums to Produce Beautiful Blooms.

Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

What are your favorite flowers to plant in the spring and summer? Let us know by commenting below.

Happy Blooming!

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