How to Plant, Grow and Care for Zinnia Flowers

Are you looking for a great cut and come again flower for your cut flower gardens? Start with Zinnias. Zinnias are one of the easiest flowers to grow from seed, they grow quickly and bloom for long periods of time. And, as an added bonus the butterflies love them!

Best Cut Flower for Beginner Gardeners

Zinnias are a great choice for the beginner gardener and a long time favorite of all gardeners. The seeds are large enough to plant individually in holes and they quickly germinate, generally in less than just a few weeks, especially if the soil is already warm.

Zinnias are best grown from seed and they are an annual flower, meaning that they only grow for one season. They are easy to save the seed from so that you can grow them again the next year from seeds that you save.

Zinnia Varieties

There is such a wide variety of Zinnias that can be grown from seed. They come in a wide variety of colors and grow to be various heights. There are also varieties with single or double petaled flowers.

Certain varieties of Zinnias can grow up to three feet tall, and they come in a wide variety of colors. This year I chose to grow the white varieties called, Giant Dahlia and Benary’s Giant White. Some of my other favorites are Queen Red Lime, Queen Lime with Blush, and Queen Orange Lime.

How to Plant Zinnia Seeds

Zinnias should be started from seed. You can transplant them from a local garden center but they won’t thrive as well and Zinnias are so easy to grow from seed. Zinnias like full sun so plant them in an area where they get sun after the last frost date for your area.

Sow Zinnias seeds 1/4 inch deep. You will see the Zinnia seedlings begin to come up in about 5-7 days. It is recommended to plant Zinnias at least 4 to 6 inches apart and then to thin them out once they reach 3 inches tall to a space of 4 to 24 inches apart. I personally plant mine close and don’t thin them. I have not had issues doing this and I get a large mass grouping that I think looks beautiful.

You can plant Zinnia seeds throughout the season, several weeks apart to have longer flowering displays.

How to Deadhead Zinnias

Deadhead Zinnias to prolong blooming time. Zinnias flourish when they are deadheaded and it encourages the flower to continue to bloom. Once the flower begins to fade, remove it from the stem. You can either pinch the flower off or use a small pair of garden shears to cut them off. There are a variety of places that you can cut back a zinnia, and depending on where you cut will make a difference in how the plant responds.

Deadheading a Zinnia closer to the ground will cause it to produce blooms that are lower to the ground. Where ever you cut the stem is where it will branch and grow new blooms. I generally cut mine back to the nearest set of leaves after the bloom fades. No matter where you choose to cut it back, the Zinnia is a very forgiving plant and will continue to grow.

Zinnia Diseases

Zinnias can get a disease such as bacterial and fungal spots, powdery mildew, and bacterial wilt. To avoid this, when watering plants avoid getting the water on the leaves. Water at the base of the plants and it is generally a good idea to water them in the early morning hours. Providing good air circulation between the plants by giving them proper spacing is another way to help eliminate issues with Zinnias.

When to Gather | Pick Zinnia Flowers

Picking Zinnias at the right stage is important. This helps to ensure that you get long-lasting blooms for your bouquets. Harvest blooms when you can hold the stem 8 inches below the bloom, shake the stem and the bloom stay stiff and upright. If you shake the stem, and the flower bends easily then it is not quite ready to harvest.

Cut long stems, remove the foliage and put into the water right away. When cutting stems, cut just above a leaf node or bud to encourage new blooms on the remaining stem. Zinnias are cut and come again flowers, so the “harder” you cut the stronger the plant responds by sending out long, stronger stems all season long.

I’d love to know if you have any additional tips or techniques for planting, growing and caring for Zinnias. Please leave your advice in the comments below.

Sources:  Garden Markers / Garden Scissors / Zinnia Seeds

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15 thoughts on “How to Plant, Grow and Care for Zinnia Flowers”

  1. This was great. I planted zinnias for the first time this year. They are beginning to flower (although mine look smaller than yours) and I was just wondering what I do now. I didn’t know about cutting the inner top flower off to encourage more outer growth. Doing this today! Hope I didn’t wait to long as they are a little taller than 18". Fingers crossed.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing these tips. You may already be planning this, but I would love it if you could do a post sometime about how to harvest and store seeds from the blooms for the next season. I love everything you do and your photography is amazing!!!❤️

  3. Dear Sarah,
    Your posts are always so encouraging to me. Thank you for sharing your lovely home with us. I love simple living too. Just wanted to say you are appreciated.

  4. I am a first time grower, varieties of Zinnia. My Zinnia’s are great, full bloom, and gorgeous. Although I got worried about having them turn colors on my leaves. I read your article and this help me understand more about Zinnia’s. Thank you for sharing your tips.

  5. I save zinnia seeds every year. I simply dry the dead flower heads (on a screen or colander) until completely dry and then store them in plastic jars (Talenti gelato is my favorite), It is crucial to dry them so they don’t get moldy.
    Next year I simply toss them in a circular area and rake the soil around them and keep them moist. The result is a profusion of cut-and-come-again flowers all season long.

    PS I am also planting seeds throughout the season, including mid-August, which I have read produces blooms all through the fall. My experience is that they bloom all through the fall when you cut them back. Great bouquets! And I love on ZInnia Street!!


  6. I read that pruning the zinnia will provide more bloom . I am going to try this and see what results I see. I enjoyed your article. Thank you for sharing

  7. Hello I am looking for advice. I plan to plant 1 acre of zinnias and have some questions.
    I plan to use a herbicide to kill the grass in the 1 ac area. then ,with a tractor, plant the seeds via a no-till method . Is this correct? or is there a better way to plant 1 acre?


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