My Everchanging Garden

Gardening That Grows With Me

Growing Zinnia – I Need to Edit Myself!

They say zinnias don’t transplant well, but I still prefer to start mine indoors to control placement and colour in the garden. Having said that, I’m still playing with how many weeks before frost so the new starts are not too leggy and stressed when planted out after risk of frost has passed. My other problem is it’s hard to balance what grows best in a container versus the garden. I need to better record what works so I can pick out my favourites once and for all.

This is my personal growing guide. I use it to track seed sources, when to start seeds and if I should adjust growing conditions in my own greenhouse and garden. Please don’t consider this professional grower’s advice.

CURRENT VARIETIES AND SOURCES

I’ve grown State Fair, Benary’s Giant, Profusion, Preciosa, Art Deco, and Cactus varieties. My problem is I keep forgetting to keep good records of how they perform however what I do remember:

  • Art Deco was lack luster, nowhere near as colourful as the pictures so very disapointing
  • State Fair is a good performer but I don’t like that I can’t control colour placement in the garden
  • Profusion is good in the garden but needs frequent deadheading by August if you want to keep the colours vibrant

So this year I’m sticking with just two varieties so I don’t get so overwhelmed – Benary’s Giant for the garden and Preciosa for containers and raised beds.

Swallowtail Garden Seeds

  • Benary’s Giant – packages each of Coral, Deep Red, Scarlet, Wine, Lilac, Purple – I prefer single coloured packages not mixes
  • Preciosa – packages each of Rose, Pink, Yellow, Red
Hardiness Not frost tolerant
Exposure Full sun
Deer resistant Yes
Bloom time & length Summer to fall
Deadheading Remove spent blooms
Water/soil Medium

SEED STARTING

I’m still sowing too early. Our last frost date is around May 13 according to the almanac however it’s rare for us not to have a cold snap before the May 24 weekend. So for 2024, plan on 5 weeks before May 24

  • 5 weeks before May 24 is April 19
  • Sow 1/4 inch deep in 2.5 inch pot – does not transplant well.
  • Germination at 80°F (26°C) in 7 to 10 days.
  • Use bottom heat and warm water

GROWING CONDITIONS

  • Keep warm 65-70°F (18-21°C)
  • Avoid excessive moisture on plants and flowers
  • Fertilize when 3 to 4 weeks old.

Note: when transplanting in the back garden, cover for the first few weeks with wire or rabbits & squirrels will dig them up.

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