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Zinnia Basics

 

Zinnias can add zip to a garden from summer to fall like no other flowering annual

If you want to pep up your garden, try zinnias. They come in ever color (with the exception of blue) and sizes range from miniature to gigantic (more than 5-inch diameter blooms).

There are so many hybrids that you can plant zinnias and no two species may look alike. Petal formation can be single, semi-double, and double. The shape may be button, beehive, and mimic that of a dahlia. Newer species are disease resistant and require little or no deadheading for prolific flowering.

Zinnias are native to Central America, Mexico, and the southwestern United States. After they become established, the plants are more drought tolerant than many other annuals.

These are kid-friendly plants as they germinate quickly and continue growing just as fast. In addition, they are butterfly and hummingbird favorites and you'll certainly see more activity once a few zinnias begin to bloom.

Zinnias also make great container plants - just be sure to give them an appropriately-sized pot and water often.

How to Grow

-Place seeds directly into soil (usually early spring).
-Seeds need heavy compost and good drainage.
-Allow for plenty of air circulation to avoid leaf disease.
-Soil surface should dry out before watering.
-Give zinnias about six hours of sun (morning to afternoon).
-Every thirty days, apply a slow-release fertilizer (low-nitrogen).

You can give zinnias an early start in peat pots or purchase them already sprouting commercially. However, their root system is very fragile and once disturbed, may not produce the profuse blooms that are expected.

Also, continue spreading seed in the garden for several consecutive weeks. You'll be able to enjoy surprising new colors throughout the season.

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