Every year when the heat peaks in the summer, Zinnias explode like a floral nebula in our gardens. A starburst of every color and hue (with the exception of blue), they attract pollinators such as butterflies, bees and hummingbirds; adding further adornment to your spectacular floral show.
Planting the Blooms
Make sure you plant these annuals from seed. They hate being transplanted. Start seeds after the last frost, and make sure to plant in full sun. Once they get going, they grow quickly and will become the flower powerhouse of your gardens. They’re known as the flower symbol of endurance due to its strong blossoming abilities from midsummer till first frost. There are multiple varieties of zinnias. The main ones being single, semi-double and double. They come in tall and short varieties. The tall ones are good for planting alongside sunflowers or lining a smaller flower bed, while the smaller zinnias are perfect for borders and containers
Once you’ve picked a perfect spot for your zinnias, sow the seeds ¼ inch deep. Keep the plants 4-20 inches apart, and if you’re doing rows, keep the rows around 2 feet apart. Zinnias like fertile and well drained soil. The seedlings will pop their heads up within 4 to 7 days, but could take several weeks till you see some colorful blossoms. Don’t forget to thin them when they get at least 3 inches tall to make sure they get enough air circulation. If feeling choked, they can get powdery mildew on their leaves. But this won’t affect the flowers though.
Even though these babies are great in extreme heat and drought tolerant, you should try to keep the soil moist, watering several times throughout the week, but don’t overwater, that could be the death toll for your star-studded flowers. Adding a little fertilizer when you first start your zinnias will bolster in those rich colorful blooms later on.
Once they start bursting, make sure to deadhead them. The best way is to snip those blooms in their prime to keep the show going, giving you gorgeous flowers for bouquets and whatever else tickles your fancy over the season.
These annual beauties didn’t always have a good reputation. Discovered in Mexico by early Spanish explorers, the flowers were seen as small and ugly, which led to the name mal de ojos, meaning “sickness of the eye”. Fortunately, over the hundreds of years that perspective has changed.
When the Victorian era came upon us with all its romanticism, flowers had a special meaning when sent to a special someone. Zinnias were usually given to friends who have been long absent and have been sorely missed.
The most recent breaking news starring these flowers is that they are the first flowers ever to be grown in space! From seed to flower, they were grown on the International Space Station to help scientists gauge how plants grow in microgravity. Depending where we go from here, these flowers could be making headway further into the galaxy in the near future.