Gardening Tales

Growing Zinnias For The Home And Garden|Gardening Series 3

February 25, 2020
Thank you for joining me today for our Home and Gardening Series 3.
Today we are going to explore the power of putting the Zinnia to work in our flower gardens!  Zinnias are terrific cut flowers for our homes, garden, farmers market, market gardening or a roadside self-serve stand.

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As a long time gardener and Market Gardener, I have fallen madly in love with the classic cutting garden zinnia, it is a consistent and brilliant bloom that never dissapoints.

Today I am happy to share some Zinnia growing tips with you.

All Zinnia elegans actually require very little ongoing maintenance during their growing season and they come in lots of colors and attractive flower shapes.

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I began growing Zinnia elegans from seed about 10 years ago in my Texas flower garden and continued on with them here in my Colorado flower garden.

*Since Zinnia elegans love the heat, they grew but did not thrive in our Mountain environment of 7,500 feet. However, lower elevations in Colorado such as Denver which is a mile high (5,130-5,690) have good luck with them.*

*Zinnia elegans don’t mind the heat. 

*In fact, Zinnia Elegans actually thrive in high humidity, high temperatures and plenty of sun.

*Added bonus they have a low vulnerability to powdery mildew.

*Sweet reminder of these old-timey, pompom zinnias, these are the darlings that our grandmothers grew. 😊

Who wouldn’t love a flower that reminds of us Grandma?

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I have two varieties of Zinnias that I truly recommend; the Benary Giants and Magellan selections.

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As a market gardener I must have long-lasting cut flowers that bloom all summer. The Benary Giant Zinnia is the perfect plant.

Not only does it provide a background in summer flowerbeds (reaching 30 inches tall) It is also great for road-side stands, Farmers Market and retail bouquets.

These tall sturdy stems support a beautiful abundance and high yield of gorgeous 3-4 inch flowers.

Available as single colors or in a stunning mixture of pink, white, salmon rose, coral, golden yellow, golden orange, dark red and dark lavender. growing zinnias tips and tricks for success

DIY Fresh Zinnia Wreath

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Maturing at just about 18 inches the Magellan zinnia is shorter and stockier than many of the Benary’s Giant.

Since the stems are shorter and thicker these plants do not require staking even though the flowers are gloriously enormous.

Once again, just like the Benary’s Giant the blooms resemble a pompom and are available in mixed and single colors.

Planting the Magellan in a mass creates a vibrant and colorful landscape that will last all throughout the Summer months and Fall as well.

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Both Magellan and Benary’s Giant (Zinnia Elegans) will benefit from deadheading the fading flowers.

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My recommendation is either a water-soluble biweekly fertilizer or keeping a constant monthly level of nutrition of a slow release fertilizer.
Either way, it is critical to fertilize in order to maintain gorgeous flowers.

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Zinnias are quite drought tolerant, but the flower production is reduced. 
Therefore, it is wise to maintain a 2-3-inch layer of mulch to hold moisture and cool the soil.

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I am not always a fan of soaker hoses, but in order to help keep the water bill down and reduce powdery mildew I do often times turn to the soaker hose.

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*These zinnia selections have great vase life and can still look good seven days after cutting.

*A good rule of thumb for collecting flowers for vase use is in the early morning.

*Use sharp scissors or a knife.

*Select flowers that are not quite fully open, as they will continue to open once placed in the vase.

*Always have a small bucket of water with you when you are collecting flowers. Immediately place cut flowers in bucket of water after cutting.

*Add a product that extends cut flower’s life to the collection bucket to help keep flowers fresh.

(We will discuss product choices for extending the length of the cut flower's life in the next edition of our Home and Gardening series.)

Zinnia, Summer, homegrown, gardening, garden, series, three,

Zinnias…the flower that screams Summer!

Thanks for joining me today!
I am so, so ready for blue skies and green grass, how about you??

Seed Resources:

Zinnia Elegans-Zowie! Territorial Seed Company

Park Seed Queen Lime Zinnia
Queen Red Lime...

Benary's Giant Mix Of Zinnia Seeds Johnny Seeds

Benary's Giant Mix Benary's Giant Series
View RURAL by RURAL Magazine

About one year ago I  had the pleasure of being published in Rural Magazine, a beautiful magazine for women who love Nature, Gardening and well told stories.
Available for purchase through the above link.

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  1. Beautiful flowers and very informative post. May I ask, do they grow well in container gardens?

    1. Good Morning Elizabeth,
      Thank you so much for the visit and the quesiton too.
      Zinnias will thrive in containers and as an added bonus you will be able to really control the soil, fertilizer and water. Sow zinnia seeds outdoors directly in soil in late spring or early summer when the soil temperature is at least 70 F for reliable seed germination, or sow the seeds indoors about one month before your location's last expected frost date.

  2. I love zinnias, Jemma, so this is a wonderful post for me. I often will plant and then abandon them when I go north. (We have too much shade for them up there or else very sandy soil.) I love the drought-heat resistance qualities big time! I'll try again this year and keep this close to my heart!

    1. Good Morning Jeanie,
      Boy, do I understand the dilemma of shade and the lack of prolific blooms. Those blooming beauties do love the heat! So great that you are able to Summer in cooler weather!

  3. Love all this info on Zinnias. They are such cheerful flowers. How smart you grow them from seeds. Happy Wednesday and have a wonderful rest of the week.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Well, you know I first discovered the tenacity of growing zinnias from seed in Texas. Naturally Texas heat and sun make for gorgeous blooms! They sprout so quickly too!

  4. I agree with you, Zinnias are excellent for market gardening. So much great advice here and it takes me back to the first time I grew zinnias. It was in our first Texas home and on a whim. Soil wasn't great but they still did amazing. Flower shops love these because most wholesale operations don't carry them. Great information Jemma - Loved this!

    1. Southern soils certainly make for quick sprouting and gloriously zinnia blooms. I was thinking of you when I wrote this post and your interest in selling from a road side stand and of course your Florist background too!

  5. GOod morning Jemma dear! I will always, forever and ever think of YOU when I see zinnias. Not only do you grow them well and know so much about them, you photograph them so well to make me want a lush bouquet of them! So many friends over the years have inspired me to take another look at things I never really noticed and these lovely and happy blooms are now on my list of flower crushes! Have a sunny and wonderful day my friend.

    1. Good Morning Anita,
      I do love my zinnias and it is so interesting to me how various flowers flourish so beautifully in different planting zones. When I think of you I think of glorious peonies! Thank you for the lovely visit and ever so kind words too.

  6. Jemma, zinnias are one of my favorite flowers to grow. They are the workhorse of a cutting garden, with so many varieties, long bloom time, and easy to grow. Thank you for sharing your expertise dear friend, I love this series you have begun! Happy weekend!

  7. I love this post &I love how Anita said she had a flower crush! That is so true! I never thought about it but I always have an ever changing favorite! What a cute way to express that! I do love faithful Zinnias, of course!

  8. How gorgeous you are the zinnia queen. :))

  9. Zinnias are one of my favorite flowers for a bright, happy cottage garden bed. So thank you so much for all these tips Jemma.

  10. I love zinnias. We used to have some. I think I shall be adding them back in. You definitely have a green thumb. Happy planting. xo

  11. I believe I have some zinnia seeds in my stash and will have to pot some up for the spring, Jemma!

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  13. You certainly have a great green thumb! all these flowers like the zinnias and dahlias, our parents had. Brings back nice memories. I saw you at Pat's blog about Creste Butte and Monarch. Sorry to hear you have to move but I understand. My husband has a doctor at National Jewish and he has had a bad year. We are Colorado natives but I wonder if he ever takes a retirement if we will have to move to lower altitudes. Sigh! It is always delightful to see you though. I stop by your page at Instagram more often it seems. Happy planting and HPS! HUGS

  14. Your Zinnias are beautiful, Jemma. Such vibrant colors. All the different colored Zinnias look so lovely in your white pitcher. The wreath you made is very nice too. Looks perfect for Spring. I remember this being one of your favorite flowers. The quote you shared is special, and I've always thought that flowers are the magic in life. : )



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