Growing Zinnia from seed is simple enough…if one follows a few steps…and one doesn’t stray from the path…(Insert werewolf howl)
Some say that Zinnias are named after Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759), a German professor of botany…but I’ve been reliably informed by Trevor in my local, that in fact they were named after ‘Dusty Zinn’ a famous 1970’s TV personality. Either way one thing is for sure…they are not native…they are from Central America…Mexico to be precise.
Here are some Higgledy top tips for growing Zinnia from seed.
*Find yourself a flower bed that gets lashings of sun…less Swindon more Acapulco.
*Dig in a good amount of organic material.
*I sow my first batch undercover at the beginning of April…I sow in modules
which helps limit root disturbance….Zinnia seedlings LOATH root disturbance.
*I sow my second batch in the middle of May…directly into the soil.
*Only very lightly cover your Zinnia seeds as they like a bit of light to germinate.
*I sow mine on their edges…but can’t for the life of me remember why…it may have been something Trevor said.
*Keep your seed trays or seed beds lightly watered whilst the seeds are germinating and becoming established…ensure they are not waterlogged however.
*I space mine out to about a foot…though this is easier with the ones you are planting from modules…I generally try and leave the ones that have germinated in the ground where they are…’let sleeping Zinnias lie’ as Trevor says.
*The ones you have sown indoors at the beginning of April will be ready to go out six weeks later…mid May…when the frosts should have gone away to Edinburgh. If you have sown in modules that are roughly 3 inches sq…then you will have got away without having had to pot them up…I never pot stuff up…time consuming and boring…too much like work…if I’d wanted a proper job I wouldn’t be doing this would I?
*Keep picking the flowers…cut above a leaf node and you will get MORE flowers…yeah baby! Zinnias are text book ‘cut and come again’ flowers…you will get bucketfuls from just a small bed of the beauties.
*As always a layer of mulch will keep the naughty weeds in check.
I stock three varieties…Zinnia ‘Envy’…this is a green Zinnia…very ‘a la mode’ and sought after by the top florists of such cities as Paris, Florence and Western Super Mare. I also stock ‘Mammoth’ (which is…well…mammoth) and ‘Dahlia Flower’ which is a flat faced variety…a bit like Mrs Skinner my old chemistry teacher.
Show them with Gypsophila (to soften them up) and perhaps something spiky like Larkspur to add some (…puts on posh voice)…’upper story architectural interest’.
OR just throw them in a jam jar and wonder at their old school 1950’s charm.