The first botanical records of this plant come from the notes of Spanish botanists Mocino and Sesse, who discovered the species growing in the wilds of southern Mexico in 1789. The common name “zinnia” honors German botanist and professor Johann Gottfried Zinn, who was among the first to grow this species after it was discovered. Zinnias signify thoughts of an absent friend in the Victorian language of flowers.
Sowing: Direct sow in spring; this seed germinates best in warm soil. Plant just below the surface and keep the soil lightly moist until germination, which usually occurs within 7-10 days. Seedlings do not transplant well.
Growing: Water seedlings regularly until they become established, but do not over water. Though they flourish with occasional watering in dry weather, mature plants tolerate some drought. This plant grows best in rich soil, and may need light fertilization for best blooming. Pinch off the growing stems to encourage bushiness, and deadhead to prolong blooming. This plant attracts butterflies and bees.
Harvesting: For cut flowers, choose stems with flowers that have just opened. Strip the foliage that will fall below the water level, and place in water immediately.
Seed Saving: After their petals drop off, the centers of the flowers will darken and develop tight clusters of seed at the base. As soon as the seed heads have turned dark brown, remove them and spread them out to dry for several days. Thresh the dried heads to separate the small, arrow-shaped seeds from the chaff. Store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Latin Name: Zinnia elegans
Species Origin: Introduced US Flower
Type: Garden Flowers
Life Cycle: Annual
USDA Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
US Regions: California, Mountain, Arid/Desert, Plains/Texas, Midwest, Northern, Northeast, Southeast
Seeds per Ounce: 4,250
Stratification: No Stratification
Germination Ease: No Stratification
Sunlight: Full Sun
Height: 36 Inches
Bloom Season: Blooms Late Summer, Blooms Early Fall
Uses: Cut Flowers, Deer Resistant
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