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December 16th 2019

Grow Great Zinnias

Written by
Floret

Nothing says summer more than an armload of cheerful zinnias. Available in a brilliant rainbow of colors, these happy blooms are a must-grow for any flower lover.

As one of the easiest cut flowers to cultivate, they are a perfect first crop for beginning growers and are reliable, prolific producers for most flower farms.  

We’ve been growing zinnias since the beginning, and every year I fall more and more in love with them.

Field of zinnias at Floret Flower FarmZinnias resent cold weather and prefer to be planted after things have warmed up a bit. Many gardeners in warmer parts of the world are able to successfully direct seed their zinnias straight into the field, but here in cool Washington we start our plants in 72-cell trays in the greenhouse 4 to 6 weeks before our last spring frost.

zinnias germinating in cell traysPlants are tucked into the field around mid-May, once the weather has sufficiently warmed up and all danger of frost has passed. Like every flower grown on our farm, we try to give them the best start possible. Learn more about soil preparation here.

Once the planting beds have been prepared, we lay down four lines of drip irrigation, roughly a foot (30.5 cm) apart, then the beds are covered with a layer of pre-burned landscape fabric to control weeds. Plants are spaced 9 inches (23 cm) apart with five rows per bed. 

Field of zinnias at Floret Flower FarmIf given good soil and a steady supply of water, plants can get huge and require some type of support. We use a layer of Hortonova netting stretched horizontally about 12 inches (30.5 cm) above the ground. Netting is held in place by metal hoops that we made with our Johnny’s Quick Hoops BenderAny type of stake, wooden or metal, will work just fine. As the plants grow, they push up through the grid of netting and get the support they need.

Field of zinnias at Floret Flower FarmZinnias like the heat, and it’s important that they are grown in full sun. In addition to choosing a sunny spot, I always grow them in fabric for the added heat.  

When we first started growing zinnias this closely together I was worried that they would be plagued by disease, but since they are grown in such rich soil, this hasn’t been a problem. We succession sow zinnias every 2 to 3 weeks in order to have a steady stream of these beautiful blooms all summer long. 

pinching The secret to getting the longest stems from your zinnias is pinching them when they are young. Here’s how it’s done: When plants are between 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30.5 cm) tall, take sharp pruners and snip the top 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) off the plant, just above a set of leaves. This signals the plant to send up multiple stems from below where the cut was made, resulting in more abundant flower production as well as longer stem length. The photo above demonstrates pinching with another type of plant. 

Field of zinnias at Floret Flower FarmIf you are not regularly harvesting your zinnias, be sure to deadhead any spent blooms to help focus the plant’s energy into producing new flowers and not going to seed.

Zinnias need to be picked when they are fully ripe, otherwise they won’t last in the vase. To tell whether a zinnia is ready to harvest, use the “wiggle test.” Simply grab the stem about 8 inches (20 cm) down from the flower head and gently shake it. If the stem is droopy or bends, it is not ready to cut. If the stem is stiff and remains erect, it is ready to harvest.

Zinnias are considered a “dirty flower” and benefit from a drop or two of bleach in their water. Do not put them in the cooler since the flowers are very cold-sensitive.

peach and coral colored zinnia flowers ombreThere is an unbelievable number of zinnias to choose from in every shape, color, and size imaginable. No matter what your needs are, there is definitely a zinnia for you.

peach and salmon and coral zinniasFor example, if you’re looking for flowers in the peach-salmon range, look at how many choices there are!

Top row, left to right: ‘Giant Salmon Rose’, ‘Zinderella Peach‘, ‘Queen Lime Orange’.

Bottom row, left to right: ‘Señora’, ‘Lilliput Salmon’, ‘Oklahoma Salmon’.

peach and salmon and coral zinnia flowersHere’s a great example of the different size options available in one color. 

Left to right, above: ‘Lilliput Salmon’, ‘Giant Salmon Rose‘, ‘Oklahoma Salmon’

Left to right, below: ‘Giant Salmon Rose’, ‘Oklahoma Salmon’, ‘Lilliput Salmon’

I thought I’d share some of my favorite varieties that we grow here on the farm in hopes that it inspires you to plant some of these hardworking, heat-loving beauties in your garden this season.

Zinnia color mix First off, we are super-excited about ‘Unicorn Mix’ (pictured above). This special Floret mix has been an ongoing labor of love, and while it’s still a work in progress, we’re thrilled to finally be able to share it with the world.

The mix has medium-sized, mostly double blooms in an enchanting range of vivid sherbet tones including raspberry, tangerine, magenta, lemon, apricot, dusty lilac, and blush with striking lavender centers.

Golden zinnia Another Floret introduction, ‘Golden Hour’ is a beautiful collection of warm buff, honey, and soft apricot blooms started from two single plants we discovered in our fields.

Over the years we’ve collected the seeds and selected out the palest antique melon shades. There’s nothing else like it on the market. This variety is named for our favorite time of day on the farm, the golden hour just before the sun sets on the horizon.

armload of salmon coral colored zinnias salmon coral colored zinniasBenary’s Giant Series: The largest-flowered varieties in the zinnia family, plants often reach 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 m) tall and have a high percentage of huge double flowers. They come in a wide range of colors (12 total) and are known for their strong stems and good disease resistance.

My all-time favorite variety is ‘Giant Salmon Rose’ (pictured above) because its warm peachy color is so versatile and softens with age. It pairs well with both pastel and vibrant colors.

field of zinniasI also love the ‘Desert Sunset Mix’ (pictured above), which includes my favorite warm-toned Benary’s Giant colors: Coral, Orange, and Carmine. They make a bold statement when combined with acid green or deep maroon flowers and foliage.

Bright coral and carmine zinnias The individual colors in this series are stunning, especially en masse.

‘Benary’s Giant Coral’ (pictured left) is a glowing tropical coral-salmon variety and a long-standing customer favorite. ‘Benary’s Giant Carmine’ (pictured right) has raspberry-pink blooms; as they age the outer tips of the petals fade, giving blooms a multidimensional quality.

Orange and lime zinniasThe petal tips of ‘Benary’s Giant Orange’ are edged with the tiniest hint of lavender, giving them an iridescent quality. The blooms of ‘Benary’s Giant Lime’ are a unique, Granny Smith apple-green and deeply packed with petals.

Red and pink zinnias‘Benary’s Giant Deep Red’ (pictured left) is a rich ruby-red; the back of the petals have the slightest hint of purple, giving them a glowing, iridescent quality. The cotton candy-pink blooms of ‘Benary’s Giant Bright Pink’ (pictured right) are as sweet as can be.

Wine and lilac zinniasA customer favorite, ‘Benary’s Giant Wine’ (pictured left) is a dramatic, deep wine hue. ‘Benary’s Giant Lilac’ (pictured right) starts out a vivid lilac, and with time the outer petals fade to a cool pale lavender, giving it a haunting effect.

coral and salmon zinniasOklahoma Series: These are hands down the most productive and floriferous zinnias I’ve ever grown. The series boasts 7 colors including Oklahoma Salmon, Pink, Carmine, Ivory, White, Yellow, and Scarlet.

‘Oklahoma Salmon‘ (pictured above) has petite, double blooms that are a warm mix of salmon and peach and combine well with anything. Everyone loves this treasure!

Ivory zinnias‘Oklahoma Ivory’ (pictured above) had been discontinued but, to the delight of countless growers and designers, was brought back by Frank Morton at Wild Garden Seed here in the Pacific Northwest. We are so pleased to offer this variety, treasured for its versatile creamy ivory color and pretty double blooms.

Queen series of zinniasQueen Series: Unlike other zinnias, this series includes the most unique array of unusual coloring including lime green, smoky apricot, dusty rose, and limey blush.

In addition to their special coloring, the Queen Series also produces vigorous plants with sturdy stems and tough flowers, a welcomed improvement to the zinnia family.

These gorgeous novelties are sought out by designers for their unique coloring.

Queen Lime Blush ZinniasThe mostly double and semi-double flowers of ‘Queen Lime Blush’ (pictured above) are a stunning blend of green and purple, unlike anything we’ve seen. Everyone who sees them instantly falls in love. It’s a must-grow!

queen lime orange zinnias‘Queen Lime Orange’: This exciting new addition to the Queen Series is the most beautiful range of iridescent raspberry, apricot, and smoky peach with a dark cranberry center. This versatile color looks incredible when combined with rich foliage and blooms.

scabiosa zinniasScabiosa-flowered types: I grew scabiosa-flowered zinnias for the first time in 2014, and they quickly became one of my favorite crops of the season. The frilly double blooms look like mini gerbera daisies or double-flowered echinacea.

They have nice long stems and good disease resistance, and they come in a beautiful range of colors.

armload of scabiosa zinnias‘Candy Mix’ (pictured above) is an improved mix that contains a higher percentage of double flowers in a warm, cheerful blend of scarlet, raspberry, rose, salmon, tangerine, gold, and cream.

scabiosa zinniasOne point to note is that many growers in warmer climates have noticed that they don’t get the same high percentage of doubles with scabiosa types (doubles pictured right) that we do here in the Northwest.

After a lot of research and emails back and forth with the breeders, I believe that if plants undergo any stress, including not getting enough water or too-high temps, they will start producing single flowers (pictured left).

While the single blooms are pretty and unique, many folks have been disappointed by this fact.

zinderella peach‘Zinderella Peach’ (pictured above) has frilly double blooms that are a warm mix of salmon, peach, and cream, accented by a striking dark center. Of all the zinnias we grow, this might be my favorite.
zinderella zinniazinderella zinnia‘Zinderella Lilac’ (pictured above) is a lovely mix of blush and soft lavender, accented by a striking dark center. It’s ideal for wedding work, and floral designers love it!

bicolor zinniaBicolor novelties: These unique bicolor novelties are sure to catch the attention of everyone who sees them.

We’ve been growing ‘Macarenia’ for years and have found that people either love it or hate it. Each glowing scarlet petal is tipped in gold for a fun twist. Winner of the Fleuroselect Novelty Award in 2012, this hardworking plant thrives in heat and is very easy to grow.

mazurkia zinnia‘Mazurkia’ brings a new twist to zinnias and is a Fleuroselect Winner for good reason. The mid-sized plant produces fun, campy double flowers with lipstick-pink centers and soft blush tips.

armload of zinnias Miniature flowered types: The old-fashioned ‘Lilliput Mix’ (pictured above) deserves a spot in every cutting garden. The easy to grow, heat-loving plants produce a bumper crop of sweet blooms on long, strong stems in shades of rose, carmine, orange, coral, white, yellow, and violet. Their petite flower size makes them ideal for flower arranging.

zinnias in flower fieldI especially love ‘Lilliput Salmon’ (pictured growing above). This adorable bloomer produces an abundance of petite, fully double, dome-shaped salmon flowers all summer long.

zinniasThe Sunbow Series, available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds has been around for ages and has miniature 1- to 2-inch (2.5 to 5 cm) double blooms that ride atop long, sturdy stems. It comes in a cheery mix including rose, purple, golden yellow, scarlet, orange, pink, and white. Plants have long, wiry stems that make them well-suited for flower arranging. 

cactus zinniasCactus-flowered types: These fun novelties have the coolest twisted, shaggy petals and come in a wide range of colors including orange, pink, red, yellow, peach, and white.

My favorite is ‘Señora’ (pictured above), which has warm salmon-apricot, quilled blooms and produces a bumper crop of large flowers that have long, strong stems. It’s a must-grow!

Mexican zinniasfield of zinnias at Floret Flower Farm Mexican zinnias: While plants themselves are compact, they churn out an abundance of stems for cutting from midsummer to early autumn. With their petite stature, they resemble a bedding plant more than a cropping variety, but I think they deserve a spot in every cutting garden.

The ‘Persian Carpet Mix’ (pictured above) includes adorable gold, cranberry, orange, and cream flowers.

Aztec sunset zinniasThe brilliant, eye-catching ‘Aztec Sunset’ mix includes a wide range of miniature bicolor blooms in shades of buttercream, gold, cranberry, rust, and merlot. These reliable bloomers are a great addition to the cutting garden and the front of the flower border.

 

field of zinniasfield of zinnias I would love to hear your experience with this wonderful group of plants. Do you grow zinnias or plan to add them to your garden this coming season? If so, what are your favorite varieties, or what new treasures are you adding to your wishlist?

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Lastly, if you find this information is helpful, I would love it if you would share it with your friends.

140 Comments

  1. Billy on

    Hello, I’m from Cambodia. Zinnia is one of my favorite flower and I started to grow them now. I got the seeds that I get from my friend, I don’t what kind of the variety it is but when it bloom, I only get a single bloom flower unlike what my friend has. Could you tell me why can’t I have the double bloom flower while the mother plant that I got the seed from is a double flower? Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Em on

    Anyone out there? I tried the pinching trick on almost all of mine. Now I just get tiny blooms. Did pinching reduce the possible size of the zinnia blooms? What did I do wrong? Should I not pinch next year?

    Reply
  3. Laura LeBlanc on

    Hey there,

    I’m growing the unicorn zinnias this summer. They’re starting to flower and the flowers are very small and petals minimal, hardly single in a lot of them. The plants look healthy and great, though. I’m hoping this is just an early awkward stage. Any ideas? I love what I can see of the colors, though!

    Reply
  4. Nancy geise. on

    I love most all zinnias and plant a mix if different variety of seeds.i am mostly partial to the California giants and the Lilliputians. I would love to order some of your solid color varieties, for next year how early can I order them?thanks your info is so beautiful and helpful plus inspiring🌞

    Reply
  5. Debbie Chilcutt on

    I have planted zinnias for many years starting them from seed. This year the buds are stunted. I’ve not gotten any normal flowers. I have cut off brown dry buds and some are starting to open and the top of them is weird and dry…..and the few that bloomed have just a couple petals and look like a flower at the end of it’s life. Someone said maybe they have aster yellows….they look super healthy from a distance but up close there some things that normally I wouldn’t pay any attention to…super tiny dots on the leaves, etc.

    All the zinnias I just read about are beautiful…I’m going to need heavy medication and counseling.

    Any ideas as to what could be happening and if I should pull them out?

    Reply
  6. Nancy on

    Hi Erin, thank you for all of this, zinnias are my favorite. I have tried zinnias two years in a row, starting the seeds indoors then transplanting around Mother’s Day (in Boise, ID). The plants get so leggy and tall, it seems the stems are not strong enough to support the plants. The stems bend over completely while they’re still so young, sort of “snapping”. So, I haven’t had much success. Should I just direct seed next year? Thank you!

    Reply
  7. vivian gerard on

    what do you use in water of a vase for fresh flower food

    Reply
  8. Yvette Sol Pineda on

    I always love this flower as we call them margarita here. I did not know that there are a lot of varieties until I saw and read your blog. I have pink, magenta, red, orange and the rare yellow colors. I am so amazed to know that there are other varieties. WOW! Just love them. ^_^

    Reply
  9. Nina Ikeda on

    Hello there! I’m new to both zinnias and gardening and have a question about pinching. Do the smaller Lilliput varieties need to be pinched at a shorter height since their final growth height is shorter? I think I’m starting to see buds on my main stem but the plants are about 5-6 inches. Should I pinch them at this height or wait? Any advice would be appreciated!

    Reply
  10. Sharon Schraeder on

    I’ve planted zinnias every summer for as long as I can remember. My daughter used to grumble a little when she got a package of zinnia seeds in her Easter basket and knew she would be expected to help plant them. That same daughter was expecting a baby girl in October of last year and asked me what the name of the flower was that we planned each year. My granddaughter was given the name of Zinya. Love it!!

    Reply
  11. Tracy on

    Kim, I’m in Texas and have the same chalky-residue issue when we use our sprinkler system. I think it’s a type of mildew when leaves are wet overnight. I’ve reduced it but not eliminated it by watering via a drip line. Hope that helps!

    Reply
  12. MaryDana Baird on

    I have been growing a few zinnias for years to make arrangements in our Episcopal Church
    Every Sunday from May through October. Zinnias keep me with flowers the whole time!
    I buy the giant variety at Walmart. They only have a limited variety. Yours are absolutely gorgeous
    And so many different colors. I was going to plant a small garden of zinnias in rows like your were done ,but on a much smaller scale. It would give me all the zinnias I needed for church, a joy to look at from my home and all who pass by to enjoy too!
    Do you sell packages of seeds or could you tell me where I can buy seeds of your giant zinnias?
    I was so excited to see your beautiful varieties! You site is beyond great!
    Look forward to hearing from you!
    MaryDana Baird 😊🌻🙏

    Reply
  13. Lauren Harrison on

    The tips of my zinnia seedlings are dead and burnt looking..they have not been outside though or exposed to the sun. What could this be? Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  14. Kim on

    Every year about 1/2-3/4 through our zinnia season the leaves start to get very chalky and ugly. Any suggestions for preventing this? Also, our tend to get very tall (we live in the south and have a long growing season). Should I attempt to keep them from getting so tall or let them continue growing? I do cut the flowers a lot which i know causes more the grow.

    Reply
  15. Kasey on

    Hi your flowers are so beautiful IAM litterly in shock from the beauty of your farms Zinnias. IAM hoping to grow some someday but I would okay to just come visit your farm and get some cut flowers. Just wanted to give you props on your gardens😊

    Reply
  16. Cindy harden on

    Are you able to reuse your drip irrigation year after year? I’m on a well with high iron in water clogs up and last winter left out and animals chewed up. How do you store yours? I’m just down south of Auburn WA

    Reply
  17. Susan on

    Thank you for sharing such wonderful Info and beautiful pictures. I look forward to receiving your
    Email each time. You definitely brighten my day and
    during this time we all need it.
    Thank you again

    Reply
  18. zain on

    its very informative post, but i feel post harvest handling and harvesting methods are missing, also tell me favorable storage temperature for zinnias and we also face a difficulty on our farm after harvesting when temperature raises above 40 degree centigrades, which factors we do for freshness of zinnias. Thanks

    Reply
  19. Barbara Kemp on

    I am in Phoenix-super hot from June to September. Would it be best to give zinnias some shade in the afternoon?

    Reply
  20. Elizabeth Brooks on

    I grew zinnias last year and plan to grow them this year with some of your added tips! I’m curious though, what other flowers or green foliage do you like to pair with zinnias for a pretty bouquet?? Thanks so much for your help!

    Reply
  21. Valerie L Espinoza on

    Where is the best place to purchase seeds? I am going to try growing zinnias this year if it is not too late.

    Reply
  22. carol johnson on

    are you able to obtain seeds from the flowers you have grown at the end of the season ??

    Reply
  23. Piebird on

    Hello! In current shaky climate I am trying to save on greenhouse fuel, and in doing so fear I have some dampening off … but only on my most resilient little growers, my zinnias. Ever had this before? If so have you seen them ‘grow out of it’, or otherwise recover? We are in early spring here so other option would be to try and direct seed. Thanks & Love your work!

    Reply
  24. Carmela Galati on

    Hi – what is meant by a “dirty flower”?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Angela, Team Floret on

      We’re referring to how they make the water dirty, as a cut flower.

  25. Ann on

    I learned so much reading this blog
    Where can I get some of these unusual seeds?
    I would like to try growing them from seed

    Reply
  26. Brandy O'Connell on

    I bought sooooo many zinnias from you guys this year. I’m growing them in a gradient color arrangement. I’m so excited!!!!

    Reply
  27. Nancy kimball on

    My mother in law loved zinnias! She gave me some seeds once and I have grown them ever since… I can’t believe how many colors and sizes you have it’s so much fun! I especially love the lillyputs they are so pretty. I grow and sell sweet peas and the little Lilliputs look so pretty with them.

    Reply
  28. Kristen on

    Hi! I’m new to your blog and website. I purchased your book last year and love it! This year, I’d like to plant zinnias in one of our raised beds. I’m curious to know if you sell and ship the starter plants so I can get the variety I’d prefer? Thanks!

    Reply
  29. Kate Foley on

    What is the trick to getting seedlings out of the 72 count cell trays? I either mangle the cell or the seedling…..help

    Reply
    • Angela, Team Floret on

      We’ve found that using a butter knife to gently loosen them out of the tray works really well. Hope that helps!

  30. vivian gerard on

    love zinnias i just go by what you like never grew thembefore until last year

    Reply
  31. Bobbi Jo on

    Hello from West Richland, Wa. !! Zinnias were introduced to me by my mother-in-law when I was a young mom trying to find easy beautiful things to plant. After trying them and cutting them and re-seeding I was hooked! I have shared this favorite plant with my own children and now I share my harvest with my 2nd graders at the end of the year and encourage them to plant at home and try with their own families :). A couple of years ago I was online searching for specialty Zinnias and I found your story and your farm. I have ordered from you ever since and shared your farm and seeds with all of my own sisters and friends. We love your farm and hope to visit someday. Because of you I am learning more about Cosmos and trying these out as well. :) Last year my Zinnias that I planted in containers did not do as well as those that I planted directly in the ground? Not sure why…take care and thank you for the post!! We love our Zinnias!!

    Reply
  32. Mary Mayr on

    Hello!

    We are based in cool upstate New York and have a climate similar to yours, I believe! The problem that we have experienced with Zinnias is that they don’t seem to flower earlier than September. The plants produce wonderfully for about a month, but then get burned by the first frost in early October.

    We would love to be able to harvest blooms earlier in the summer — do you have any recommendations for “speeding up” the growing process? What works for you?

    Mary
    At the Loft Homestead

    Reply
    • Angela, Team Floret on

      Hi Mary,
      We start all of our seeds indoors to extend the season by a couple months. We recommend starting them 6-8 weeks before your last frost so they can be transplanted outside after the weather has warmed. This should help extend the amount of time you have flowers.

  33. Mandy on

    Do you fertilize? If so, how often and with what product? Thank you! So beautiful!!!

    Reply
  34. Jinger L. on

    Thank you for sharing all of these! What a dream to be able to work in such beauty everyday. I love to grow Zinnias because they are so easy and make the cutest bouquets! Thanks for all the info!

    Reply
  35. Linda on

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! I love getting all this information from you! Especially being stuck in my home I have so many seeds & I can’t wait to get busy. You are a one in a million I can’t thank you enough, stay safe be healthy I can’t wait for more❤️🌸

    Reply
  36. Marjorie Morrison on

    I have a garden labyrinth and several of the paths are lined with zinnias each year to attract hummingbirds. I’ve noticed that that they seem to like the larger, single zinnias of all colors. One year I planted a Sunbow Orange from you and the hummingbirds loved them. I was able to get some great photos that year. I am one of those who has a hard time pruning the “center” out of the young plants, but when I do I am rewarded with taller plants and more blooms. (I learned that technique from you, thank you.) Looking forward to gardening season here in West Michigan; we should be in full swing by mid to the end of May.

    Reply
  37. Marilyn on

    What a nice article Erin on one of the best annual any gardener should sow every year!!! Thank you for all the tips especially the cutting tips, very interesting to learn at what stage we can cut them etc!! All your pictures are lovely. this year I will try for the first time the zinnia red spider. Have you ever tried it?

    Reply
  38. Dana on

    Zinnias are some of my favorite cutting flowers! Their beautiful colors make me and the friends I share them with smile! Thank you for sharing your favorites.

    Reply
  39. Prisilla on

    How spectacular! 😍 I had no idea the amount of varieties. I planted seeds years ago with success and I recently carefree planted some packets. Thank you so much for the tips when cutting. I’m in Texas. Take care. Stay safe. 💐💖

    Reply
  40. Tanya Butler on

    After being inspired by your book last January we started a cut garden here in Middle Tennessee–Zinnias were the largest part of our crop and they were so well received. I made sure to pick interesting varieties and our customers were just wowed by our selection. Now you’ve introduced many others…so I’m ordering more! Thank you for everything you all do to bring such ah-mazing flowers and information to beginning growers like myself. You are SO appreciated!!

    Reply
  41. Martha on

    Would you consider having a mixed color selection in the cactus and benary’s zinnias? One package of each is more than enough for my cutting garden. And then I would have fresh seeds every year and no waste.

    Reply
  42. Whitney Steele on

    When you say that plants are “spaced 9 inches (23 cm) apart,” do you mean that the rows are spaced 9″ apart, and the seeds within the rows are planted much closer? Or do you mean that literally every seed or two should be 9″ from the next plant?

    Reply
  43. Connie Hollenbeck on

    I love Zinnias of all types and sizes and colors! They are one of my favorite flowers and I always try to have a bunch somewhere in my gardens for me to enjoy. I didn’t know about trimming them back so they branch out so I will be doing so this year. Can never have enough of the beauties! Love your colorful website and I will be back to enjoy over and over again. Thanks.

    Reply
  44. Lisa Boniface on

    I live in UK and grow zinnias small and benary every year with great success in my garden which is clay-based soil they are very tolerant with our very changeable climate and make a show-stopping display

    Reply
  45. Mary Schoenbaechler on

    I tried Banarys Giant last year with ok success. If i plant them closer together, will they be shorter? This would work better in my cutting garden.

    Reply
  46. Heirloom Garden Girl on

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Lilliput Salmon. It has been a trooper in my garden providing abundant beautiful blooms for much of the growing season. I can’t imagine my garden without Lilliput Salmon or any of the Queen Lime series.

    Reply
  47. Nora on

    You mentioned starting flowers in the greenhouse several weeks before last frost, are your greenhouses heated?

    Reply
  48. Emma Weaver on

    I grew flowers for the farmers market this summer, zinnias being one of them(one of my favorites). One problem with the zinnias, was having the stems collapse only hours after cutting- every single flower. I tried numerous things, nothing seemed to help, but gradually the flowers started lasting a week or more. I hadn’t changed any of the cutting or sterilization methods, so now I’m clueless what made the difference. Could the pH of the soil or water make a difference? or fertilization, etc.? Also I had a lots of trouble with black spots on the leaves, maybe caused by insects- not sure if it affected the flowers or not. What kind of sprays do you use? and how often do you spray them? I tried Fertilome Triple action, and fertilized with fish emulsion.
    Thank you for any answers you can give me!

    Reply
  49. Jason on

    I love Zinnias, so I appreciate this post. Living in Chicago, I can also understand the need to plant out seedlings after things have warmed up. My favorites are the single and semi-doubles in orange and red.

    Reply
  50. Kim E on

    I didn’t think I was a big fan of zinnias until I read your post about them (I love easy plants!) and saw your beautiful varieties. Are there any particular varieties that would work in containers on my west-facing balcony in Los Angeles? Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  51. Megan on

    Can zinnias go into the ground earlier if you put up frost cloth and warm the soil a bit with black fabric? Thank you so much!

    Reply
  52. Sherri Love on

    Your website is stunning!!! I look at it through the winter to remind me that there is life out there and will be here soon.
    I put my Zinnias in the vegetable garden and we do not have a big bug problem. I sow them with Marigold’s and Cosmos’s. They are the last thing I pull out of the garden because I want to enjoy them to the end. I call the Zinnia’s and Marigold’s the workhorse of the garden. You can always depend on them to be beautiful. Looking forward to ordering seed for next season!!!
    Thank you for all the work you do to bring us gardener’s the info you have learned. It is very helpful and I look forward to reading it and watching the videos.

    Reply
  53. Elizabeth on

    My Zinnias were the best ever this year but for the fact that one day I went out and the center stems had been hollowed out by a pest but there was no trace of any. I lost most and the others bent broke what flowers were still alive. Any help with this? Anyone know what the pest would be? Thank you in advance for any help. Looking for a better season next Spring.

    Reply
  54. Chris Robinette on

    Do you pull them out of the ground after it’s autum?, fall, winter???

    Reply
  55. em on

    I just discovered your site from this post. Very helpful and beautifully presented information! I like how you are straight to the point and comprehensive without a lot of digressions or insufficient info. Now I can spend some time looking at the rest of the site. Great work and wishing you the best success

    Reply
  56. kyra on

    I just wanted to come back to thank you for this post. Zinnias were my grandmother’s favorite flower. But I have never had much success with them. After reading the post and seeing all the beautiful varieties, I was inspired to try again. So I turned my raised garden bed where I normally grow tomatoes into a zinnia patch this year. I planted a few too many seeds really because I wanted to be sure to get some. Well, I did! The entire bed is just full of all types of beautiful, colorful zinnias just like my grandma loved. My personal favorite are the chartreuse green ones. But it’s hard not to love them all! Thank you again for just the push I needed!

    Reply
    • Angela on

      Hi Kyra- I’m so glad this post helped you. That makes my day!

  57. vivian gerard on

    love the zinnias have never grown them before good to know about the bleach also i guess it was to cold here in abbotsford bc to plant when i did i have never seen them come up so i bought more for myself and sister hers are up but i dont see mine

    Reply
  58. Katie on

    Hi there!
    I have been gleaning every tidbit of wisdom you have to share from your site as well as your book as I start my flower farming journey. I’m hoping you can clarify something for me. You recommend Floralife to aid in vase longevity for most flowers. Should I use it for Zinnias as well? Or just the bleach added to the water?
    Thank you so much.
    Katie

    Reply
  59. claire cooper on

    Hi there,

    I am growing zinnia in containers on my patio for the first time. I bought them as healthy plug plants and pinched them when they go to a decent height to encourage more leaf growth.

    We have reently had floods, then high winds and now a day of 32° heat. As a consequence one of the plants has completely collapsed. The stem is too weak to hold the plant up. I have tried staking to hold it up, but it no looks dry like its dying. How can I fix this. Or is there no hope.

    Reply
  60. Robin Habing on

    I have planted many varieties this year. The whimsical colors and shapes just make me smile. I lost all first 2 rounds to rain. The flowers growing now are coming along well. They are not quite big enough to pinch, but I am very hopeful they will produce well. I love your blogs!! The knowledge I am gaining is awesome. I keep your book handy indoors, but if out in garden, I look up your blogs with my phone.

    Reply
  61. Marianne on

    Wow, breathtakingly beautiful! I thought I was not a zinnia fan.. However, when I saw this selection, I’ve changed my mind. I’m a fan and always have been of peachy/salmon shades (since childhood). Did not know these were available. I now know what I will begin with next Spring. So grateful!!

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Marianne,
      I’m so glad you’ve found some zinnia varieties that you love! We’ll have them in the shop starting January 6th for next season.

  62. Becky Llenos on

    Thank you for all the great information! I planted a flower garden from seed tapes in April and have so many Zinnias, Cosmos and Tithonia blooming and more on the way! The Zinnias are the stars of the garden for sure. Can’t wait to start cutting them and look forward to trying some of varieties you mention above.

    Reply
  63. Helen Metcalf on

    I planted a verity of zinnias in large pots, to my surprise they turned out beautiful. The only problem I had was they got to large at late season but still beautiful, This year I am doing the same thing. This time I will cut them back shorter and see what happens. Some of my friends liked them so much in pots, they are doing the same thing.

    Reply
  64. Linda Switzer on

    Oh my gosh, I am happy to share this on Facebook! They are simply gorgeous, breathtaking! I copied each photo to share on my FB before I reached the end and realized I could share the entire page. I am so grateful. Decisions, decisions….now I am seriously considering sticking with one flower..ZINNIAS!…and filling my entire yard with them, all the different, gorgeous varieties. The more the merrier! Thank you!

    Reply
  65. Randall Sanders on

    Love this article! We are in western Indiana and are planting several Zinnias this year. Our concern/question is: Will we be successful if we direct seed/plant in the holes we burned in our landscape fabric?

    Thank you!!

    Reply
  66. Anna on

    My husbands mom gave us a cheap packet of zinnia seeds last year to plant in the courtyard of our (first and new) home. I was so surprised at how well they did with so little care! Those little flowers really started a love of gardening in me! This post is so helpful to know how to better care for them this year!

    Reply
  67. vivian gerard on

    i have never heard of these before but have bought some seeds but will wait for the weather to warm up at night in bc

    Reply
  68. JA on

    I’m trying Zinnia’s from seed this year – Zowie Yellow Flame from Johnny’s and seeds I harvested from a friend’s zinnia bed last fall. The Zowie are growing well and about 3″ tall – the other are half that height and I’ve only had 2 to come up for some reason…should I be taking the flat in at night? I have been so far.

    Reply
  69. frances embick on

    Hi! Beautiful photos. How far apart do you thin seedlings?

    Reply
  70. M Edwards on

    This is so helpful! I have gardened all of my life, but I have always focused on vegetables and companion flowers like marigolds and nasturtiums. I’ve never grown zinnias before, but I just started a flat of the Queen Series today. I’m excited to see how they do in my garden this year. Thank you for taking the time to put all of this information together to help aspiring flower growers like myself. It truly is appreciated.

    Reply
  71. Erin Kuhn on

    A dirty flower is one that will dirty up the water quickly – sunflowers and zinnia are examples of this. Adding a bit of bleach or hydrogen peroxide to the water keeps the water cleaner longer with ‘dirty flowers’. :)

    Reply
  72. Lawrence on

    I’ve heard of a ‘dirty’ gardener, but never a ‘dirty’ flower- I can’t even ‘google’ it!

    Reply
  73. Dee Turk on

    I love Zinnias! Where I live in central CA it is incredibly hot months on end and they are one of my favorite in the garden, and I must plant more this year! Thank you so much for all the wonderful information and photos that you provide I really appreciate it!

    Reply
  74. Janine Heser on

    Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for your tips on these. They are one of my favorites.
    Janine

    Reply
  75. Sheryl Knappenberger on

    Love, love, love the amazing flower growing wisdom you impart. It seems you are sold out on most of the zinnia varieties I would like. Can you offer an alternative source?

    Reply
  76. Dina on

    So thankful to hear that zinnias like the heat! I also raise dahlias and have one particular bed that is up against a barn wall and east facing. It gets extremely warm with heat reflecting off the barn and the dahlias did not like it even with twice daily watering. Have a bunch of seeds started in the greenhouse now. Hopefully they’ll like this location better. First time growing these. Thanks for the great info

    Reply
  77. Lori Winter on

    Can you please share your source for these varieties. I only have what is offered at the big box stores in my area.

    Reply
  78. Barb Knebel on

    hi, I’m stating this year to be a flower farmer! So excited! I live in Cincinnati Ohio. Actually, in a small rural town outside of Miami University.

    We are starting small with a 1/2 an acre and building from there. Where would you recommend we purchase the zinnias from? They are my favorite. If you had to advise us on 5 to plant, which five would you suggest?

    Any other advise would be great. We are really reading up on all of it. I just love your flowers! It inspires me. We are going to prepare our soil and I think we are going to plant seeds unless you think otherwise. What about water? How do you get water to your flowers?

    Thanks for any help!
    Barb and John
    Knebels Knob Farm

    Reply
  79. Barb on

    I grow cut flowers to decorate my church. We always hope bouquets last a full week there. The longest lastin bouquets ever are zinnias with statice, can maybe go two weeks!

    Reply
  80. Kim Feehery on

    They are so carefree in our east Texas sandy loam that I use Zinnias as row markers in the orchard. Just scattering a handful of seeds adds a splash of color to the end caps or paint the orchard with dabs of color beneath the olive trees. It is a joy to see the pollinators flitting between Zinnia islands.

    Reply
  81. Tiffany on

    Love all the variety and pics! Thanks for sharing! I’m considering starting zombie from seed instead of direct sowing. Would they do well in a sunny window sill, or do I need to use grow lights? Do you recommend a heat mat? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Tiffany,

      Zinnias are so easy you can direct sow them, or start them inside under lights or in a southern facing window. In a window they can tend to get leggy, but if you plant them outside fairly quickly, or take them out to get sunshine during the day, they should do really well for you.

  82. Judith Robertson on

    I’m in New Zealand on the east coast of the North Island. Its a temperate climate with hot dry summers. Zinnas are a favourite to grow in bulk in my gardens but unfortunately the fabulous range shown aren’t so available here. Shame!

    Reply
  83. Cindy on

    I’m in one of the milder parts of Montana (Zone 3+ or 4-), but I’ve struggled starting them in the greenhouse and had the best luck direct sowing once it warms up. A surprise frost comes late often enough that I usually wait until last week of May, meaning it’s quite a wait before blooms.

    I love Magellan because it is so beautiful in arrangements with cool colors (not quite pink) and warm colors (not quite salmon) while staying bright and vivid. For weddings, Polar Giant is my go-to.

    Reply
  84. Teija K on

    Zinnias seem to love the hot and dry summer climate up here in the northern Cariboo region of British Columbia. They tend to seed and transplant so easily…and even tolerate a tiny bit of neglect. This will be my first year growing for actual cut flower sales so I went a bit wild with choosing zinnia varieties thanks to your numerous must-grow recommendations and amazing photos! The more I look at the options on this website and seed catalogues I keep thinking I should add just one more type…

    Reply
  85. D'Anna Asher on

    Do you recommend any that are mildew resistant?

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      If you plant them in full sun, give them adequate spacing and water at the base, they should all be quite mildew resistant.

  86. Gwen on

    I love zinnias. They are such a cheerful flower. So many fun varieties! Thank you.

    Reply
  87. Tay E MacIntyre on

    I adore zinnias! I’m in Albuquerque, NM and our extreme heat is difficult- out of packs of direct seeded zinnias last year, i got only one plant that grew and bloomed! This year I’m trying all seedings started from seeds indoors and will see how they do. It’s been very frustrating trying to grow something billed as an easy, beginner flower in this climate- I’m in my 5th decade of gardening, but new to this climate!

    Reply
  88. Renee Rednour on

    I live in New Orleans, and I have never been able to grow Green Envy. Trying Bernary’s Giant Lime this year instead. fiorentina504

    Reply
  89. Leslie Oscar on

    Please explain what you mean by “grow them in fabric”. Thank you.

    Reply
  90. Pat Reid on

    Last year I had s really difficult time with my zinnias initially. I had problems with dampening off, and then decided to directly sow in the garden. This took 3 attempts. Normally I find them very easy to grow. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Reply
  91. Heidi on

    I love zinnias! This makes me want to order some of every color! Ahhhh Thanks for all the great information on flower growing!

    Reply
  92. Megan on

    I just watched my seeds pop up after only a few days of being sown. It was so gratifying after having some germination challenges with other starts. I wanted to hug those little guys! Choosing only a few varieties was almost excutiating but I want to grow a little of everything so I have to be choosy with my limited space. I ended up getting the queen lime, zinderella lilac and desert sunset mix. After reading this I want to grow fields of zinnias!

    Reply
  93. Jill on

    Zinnias are my favorite cutting flower mainly because they are so easy to grow and they’re very prolific. The Queen Lime series are my favorites because their colors are so unusual. My youngest daughter(she’s 17) asked that I grow the flowers for her wedding, which I hope won’t be for quite a while! But I consider it quite an honor that she loves all of the flowers that I grow.

    Reply
  94. Fleurentine on

    Fantastic! And soooo beautiful! You’ve inspired me to try my hand at growing them!

    Reply
  95. Tara on

    I have your “ Cut flower garden “ book and love it! I’m in Canada, not far from you, so should be able to follow your book easily. This will be my first year growing Zinnias.

    Reply
  96. Josh on

    This will be my first year growing zinnia’s. I have 2 varieties that I have received from floret and I’m quite excited to see the colors of the Queen lime orange. I am hoping these mix well in arrangements with my DA roses. I have been really enjoying your blog and find it inspiring to grow all sorts of things that as of yet I haven’t.

    Reply
  97. Rebekah on

    Thank you for all the great information! We always had trouble keeping zinnias happy in our nursery. To much cold early season and a bit to much shade so I avoided them because they were one of the most finicky. After reading you article I’d really like to try them in my own garden! I love your taste in flowers if I had a acreage I would grow each variety you offer :)

    Reply
  98. Nicole Kirchhoff on

    We love growing Zinnias here in South Florida. It is sometimes difficult to get the variety and color of flowers down here in the tropics, and zinnias help fill that void. I am excited to try this trick to get longer stemmed flowers. And to provide additional nutrients through weekly seaweed tea.
    We do have a major issue down here in the south with Powdery Mildew, its so humid it has become a never-ending battle. Perhaps with the additional seaweed tea nutrients and healthier plants, I can battle this a little better. Now just to keep the iguanas out of the flower beds (the eat everything to the ground and outsmart even chicken wire)… but another south Florida issue.

    Reply
  99. Linda Knight on

    I’m so glad you mentioned that Scabiosa varieties revert to single flowers under stress. Last year I was so excited to grow Zinderella Peach for the first time and was so disappointed with the results. Not only were they single flowers, but most of the flowers didn’t even have a complete circle of petals; many only had 4 to 6 odd petals per flower and were a washed out dirty white color on otherwise healthy plants. My other varieties of zinnias were beautiful, so I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Here in Eastern Washington are summers are so hot, I think, sadly, I won’t try to grow this variety again. Thank you for that valuable bit of info.

    Reply
  100. Lisa Lawhead on

    I have loved zinnias since I was a kid, thanks to my Dad. He was an incredible gardener, and every year would plant a row of zinnias and a row of marigolds at the edge of our vegetable garden. He’s been gone for 23 years and I have never grown a vegetable garden, but I grow zinnias every year. My favorite is Benary Giant, and I love to mix them with snapdragons. Thanks for this lovely article! the photos of all those beautiful zinnias have me itching for Spring! I’m in Ohio, and am anxiously awaiting the time I can dig in the dirt!

    Reply
  101. Russell Guzzetta on

    Great article. We have been growing and selling them for a year now in Florida.
    Was the only nutrients for the growth period added during bed prep and during seedlings when you used compost tea?

    What kind of spray treatments do you do? We have quite a powdery mildew problem during the dry winter month (we grow year around). Do you have to deal with that?

    Thanks! Russell

    Reply
  102. Trish Schweitzer on

    I love all of the information on zinnias. The rows and rows of zinnias look gorgeous. I grow a lot of zinnias during the growing season. Sometimes when a perennnial is done blooming for the season in spring I will throw in a pack of zinnias for color the rest of the summer and have had a lot of success with that. I forwarded your site onto my daughter in law and she was so inspired she asked for and received from me your book for Christmas. I can’t wait to see what she grows this year. I am in zone 5b, Wisconsin.

    Reply
  103. Kendra C. on

    Zinnias are a favorite of mine and I plant them every year. We recently moved to a house with a smaller yard and so I have less space to plant in. I will definitely be using the pinching technique to encourage more blooms. I’d love to try the Oklahoma series, as that’s where I live. :) Maybe next year!

    Reply
  104. Katy on

    Whoa- they revert to singles in stress? I thought they loved heat! This explains why my “green envy” zinnias reverted to a pale yellow single petaled flower last year? I planted them in full sun (that’s 13+ hours of South Carolina heat, which I thought they could handle)
    I will experiment with part shade this year to see if it makes a difference. Green Envy is not a Scabiosa type but maybe it’s the same issue…

    Reply
  105. Joyce Haas on

    Love the information on zinnias, Erin. I have been growing State Fair Zinnias for a few years, and they are stunning, multiple pinks, deep rose, yellow and a few white. So stunning and the sizes ranger from 2″ to nearly 4″ wide. I am in love with these, along with the dwarf series, Profusion Coral Pink, Fire, and Orange.

    Reply
  106. gayle smith on

    I’m soo enjoying all the Zinnia talk . I’m obsessed with them . The flowers change form so much as they mature and stages are fascinating . The bees and butterflies love them . I grow them in Mogo . New South Wales . Australia . They are fabulously easy to make stunning cut flower bunches . I take them to my Mogo Nursery , people love them . Thanks for your info . I found the reverting to single flowers interesting too .

    Reply
  107. Wendy Henrichs on

    Beautiful post! Thank you! <3
    Zinnias are not only beautiful, they are so important for pollinators and butterflies. Yours are so gorgeous!

    Reply
  108. Kiara on

    I live in Miami Florida and that means we are a unique micro climate with a 10B hardiness zone rating. Sadly this means I can’t grow most anything from my native NW. Do any of your zinnias do ok in 10B?

    Reply
  109. Deborah Collins on

    hanks for the tips about scabiosa varieties! I’m going to pass that info on!

    Reply
  110. Denise on

    Hi Floret
    Just loved this article and the photos. The zinnia is the grand old lady of the garden to me. Have always included them as such happy vibrant and easy to care for plants.
    Flowers last a long time as a cut flower too.
    Thanks for sharing
    Denise

    Reply
  111. George Bilof on

    Great article, thank you. As zinnias are considered prolific bloomers does that mean you can cut stems every week when conditions are good?

    Reply
  112. Elin on

    I am so curious as to how one shall harvest flowers that grow in netting? Do you cut it under the net and pull it up through?

    Reply
  113. Jan Mooney---Garden Petals on

    Thank you for the article on zinnias, i have fallen in love with all the new colors an sizes. Looking forward to being as successful as you have been in growing them this year.

    Reply
  114. Rogelio Cruz on

    Is there any way to combat or remedy for powdery mildew? I always seem to have this around the end of summer beginning of fall all my zinnias get PM.

    Reply
  115. Janet Phillips on

    I ordered your ‘Cut Flower Garden’ book and LOVE it! I’m hoping to grow the table flowers for my son’s September wedding. I’ve always grown a few flowers, but not for a special occasion. Living in the Flint Hills of Kansas, we knew zinnias would be top of the list, as we tend to have very hot windy summers. I had no idea there were so many beautiful varieties until reading your blog and looking through your book. I’m looking forward to reading all the tips because I know I’m going to need help! Thanks so much for writing such a beautiful, helpful book!

    Reply
  116. Marian on

    It is absolutely pouring here in the UK so this article was a magic pick me up. I have sent it to a sick friend who loves her garden. Roll on summer and thank you for all the advice.

    Reply
  117. Lisa Bindon on

    Thank you for the explanation about why double zinnias can sometimes turn into scruffy single zinnias! I had been wondering why that was and will try a slightly coler spot for them next season

    Reply
  118. Trisha Brink on

    I am growing an annual cutting garden for the first time this year. I usually stick to perennials, roses, fruits and vegetables. But, I fell in love with the Zinderella zinnias this year….and now I can’t stop purchasing all kinds of zinnia seeds! Thank you for the great tips on how to grow these amazing hearty flowers! I am thrilled to hear that they grow so well here in Western Washington. I can’t wait to start them… keep up the good work :)

    Reply
  119. Krista Freitas on

    Zinnias have been in the family garden every year since before my dad was born. There are multiple pictures of my grandmother’s garden bursting with zinnias from back in the day, and my father has been growing from saved seed for years now. They have the coolest antique cream colored single petaled cactus flowered variety that pops up every year. ( I’m going to try to save from it this year. (I cut them all this year.. oops) I named my daughter Zinnia Raine in memory of my late grandmother and we grow tons every year! I’m especially excited to try the zinderella series and the queen lime blush this year !

    Reply
  120. Ali, The Mindful Gardener on

    I love Zinnias. We had a hot summer (for us) last year and the Zinnias loved it. The Queen and Bennary series have been brilliant. I am growing the Zindarellas this year for the first time and I can’t wait! Thank you for this really thorough exploration of varieties on offer!

    Reply
  121. Bouquets of Blessing on

    Zinnias are one of the flower types we grow the most of each summer. They are extremely easy to grow. We direct sow a few times through the summer, but just one planting provides us with blooms for many weeks. Definitely a must-grow!

    Reply
  122. Jontal on

    I used to be a huge zinnia snob, feeling like they were second class to dahlias, but now I’m a total convert. I have too many seed variety for my garden space, so I’m trying to convince my husband to let me dig up some of our existing landscaping; we’ll see how that goes. Anyways, this year I’m really excited to grow a few new (to me) varieties I bought from a different seed company: Uproar Rose and Art Deco. Thanks for the tips about scabiosa varieties! I’m going to pass that info on!

    Reply
  123. Alexis Jorgensen on

    I am so glad to have read this article! Zinnias have been a major part of my cutting garden for years and they are one of my favorite things to grow. I love the look of the scabiosa zinnias but haven’t had as much success with them as I would like, it’s good to know that it’s stress that’s causing the single blooms! I’ll be a little more careful with those this year :) Thanks for all the amazing blog posts!

    Reply

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