Adding Zing to Your Garden with Zinnias
Updated: Jun 28
How can one not be happy when they see a garden full of happy Zinnias? These tough cheerful plants flower abundantly all through the Summer heat and will still be giving colour till Jack Frost arrives. Zinnias love full sun and a good drink once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions. It is best to ground water, or water in the morning as the older plants can be susceptible to powdery mildew. Zinnias prefer to be direct sown into the ground, but good success can be had if sowing them in 10cm pots and carefully transplanting them when they have two pairs of true leaves. This is a good method if you live in the colder parts of Australia and want colour early in the season. Sow them about 1cm deep and water well. They should germinate in about 10 days, faster if the air temperature is warmer. When the plant is about 30cm high (this also depends if it is a dwarf or tall variety) pinch out the centre bud. Yes, I hear groans. This encourages the plant to bush out and the reward will be lots more flowers, though flowering will be delayed by a couple of weeks. Pick or deadhead your zinnias regularly to prolong flowering.
Zinnias will last between 1 to 2 weeks in a vase. If the weather is dry, give the plants a deep soak the day before picking the flowers. They should be picked when fully open (buds do not open well after cutting), but the centres still tight, you can give them the shake test before picking. Hold the stem about 20cm below the flower and give it a bit of a wiggle. If the stem stays straight and the flower doesn’t flip flop, you are right to go.
Removal of leaves below the waterline is recommended as the foliage will taint the water and almost complete defoliation will assist with prolonging vase life. After cutting, place in cold water straight away and condition for at least 8 hours.
Changing the water every 2 days will help with flower longevity.