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Growing Zinnia Flowers Indoors from Seed, and Cuttings

Introduction to growing Zinnia flowers indoors

Zinnia flowers are colorful additions to any flower garden, they’re great for cutting, they are easy to grow and start from seed, so they make a great choice for container gardening. Zinnia flowers are one of the easiest flowers to grow, as they grow quickly and bloom heavily. Zinnia plants can be grown from nursery plants but grow easily from seeds. They are susceptible to a few diseases and pest problems but are otherwise low-maintenance plants. Even though Zinnias are fast-growing plants, starting Zinnia seeds indoors could help you get an even faster jump on the growing season, a plus if you’re growing Zinnias for cut flowers. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • How do you take care of potted Zinnias
  • Are Zinnias easy to grow
  • Do Zinnias grow well in pots
  • How long do Zinnia plants take to grow
  • Zinnia plant care
  • Growing Zinnia flowers from seed
  • How do you care for potted Zinnia plants
  • How do you germinate a Zinnia seed
  • Growing Zinnia from cuttings
  • Tips for Growing Zinnia in pots
  • Different varieties of Zinnia plants
  • Growing Zinnia problems

A step by step guide to growing Zinnia flowers indoors

To propagate, use seeds formed by the Zinnia’s flowers to plant more Zinnias in the balcony garden. Flowering annuals are grown in containers that add color to an apartment terrace, a garden patio, or another outdoor location. When choosing Zinnia plants for potting, add some Zinnias for blossoms that keep coming all season long.

Choose short or dwarf Zinnia varieties for containers

Creeping Zinnia plants do well in containers. The Cascade Beauties series and Crystal series grow to 10 inches tall. They can be grown in regular containers or hanging baskets.

Dwarf common Zinnias like Short Stuff series and Small World series are grown in containers. Short Stuff Zinnias grow to about 10 inches tall while Small World Zinnias top out at 6 inches.

Why Grow Potted Zinnia Plants?

There are many reasons to grow Zinnia plants. These pretty flowers come in a range of colors and sizes, they are great cutting flowers and look nice in arrangements, they are very easy to grow, and they keep producing blooms all summer, even when it’s very hot. There are great reasons to consider growing potted Zinnia plants. If garden space is limited, for instance, containers on a patio can add color and greenery. If you have limited sun in the yard, a container will allow you to move your Zinnias to catch the rays. And, with pots, you can grow these pretty flowers inside in the winter, adding cheer to the colder months. Select varieties that are shorter, as the tall Zinnias won’t do as well in containers. Good options for pots include the hybrid bedding Zinnias and these have a short, spreading growth habit.

Pot for growing Zinnia flowers

Zinnias can grow in any type of container, including plastic or clay pots, wooden half-barrels, a window box, or a hanging basket, but select a container that has at least one drainage hole to help prevent fungal growth in the soil. Disinfect a previously used container to kill disease organisms or pests before use by soaking it in a solution that’s one part bleach to 9 parts water for 10 minutes, clean with water that have a little dish detergent, and rinse well.

Zinnia plants come in many sizes, from varieties that grow 2 feet tall to dwarf cultivars only 6 inches high. As they all spread to 1 or 1 1/2 feet, a good rule of thumb for spacing is to set one Zinnia in a 6-inch pot, three plants in a 10-inch pot, and up to 5 Zinnias in a 14-inch pot.

Starting Zinnia seeds indoors

Zinnia plants are best started by direct-seeding in the garden; therefore, it is best to sow the Zinnia seeds indoors into 2 1/2- to 4-inch biodegradable peat pots that will break down when planted outside in the soil. Planting the entire pot reduces the transplant shock so the Zinnia plant will have a greater chance of becoming established. If you’re growing dwarf Zinnia plants in patio pots, however, you can simply direct-sow the seeds in the containers that you’ll move outside when the weather warms in spring.

A sterile and fast-draining potting soil containing vermiculite or perlite is best for Zinnia seedlings. This type of soil will provide stability for the seedlings while allowing enough air pockets for the plant roots to receive adequate oxygen. When you fill the pots, the soil level must sit 1 to 1 1/2 inches below the top to allow room for watering.

Sowing Zinnia seeds

Starting Zinnia seeds indoors in the spring, 4 to 5 weeks before the last average spring frost date, will produce starts mature enough for transplanting outdoors. Sowing 2 seeds in each pot are not required, but it will help ensure that each container produces a plant.

Zinnia seeds need a sowing depth of 1/4 inch. Water the pots immediately after sowing the Zinnia seeds to induce the germination process. It’s best to group multiple pots into a plastic flat and cover the flat with a clear plastic lid to trap in humidity.

Germinate Zinnias indoors

Zinnia plants are flowering annuals that make a perfect addition to a garden or patio with bright, colorful flowers for summer. Sow Zinnia seeds indoors about 4 to 6 weeks before the last winter or spring frost. Zinnias are very easy to germinate indoors and should sprout within a week after sowing.

Step 1) First, fill a seed tray, peat pots, or flat with a starter potting mix. For a cheaper alternative, use paper egg cartons as seed trays that can be planted directly in the garden along with the Zinnia seedlings.

Step 2) Moisten the soil evenly with water before planting the Zinnia seeds. An easy way to do this is to set the flat, pots, and tray in a container of water so the water seeps up into the soil. Then, remove the flat or tray from the water after the soil is thoroughly moistened.

Step 3) Sow 2 or 3 seeds per seed compartment, planting them one-half inch deep.

Step 4) Lay a piece of plastic wrap loosely over the top of the soil or slide the tray, pots, or flat into a plastic bag, not tight or sealed.

Step 5) Set the tray, pots, and flat in a bright area, but not directly in sunlight. Keep soil moist, but not soggy until germination and maintain temperatures between 23 and 26 °C.

Growing Zinnias from seed

Zinnias are easy to get started from seeds, because their seeds are large and easy to handle, and they germinate quickly. Start seeds indoors about 6 weeks before the last spring frost, sowing them in a moistened, soilless mixture in flats or small pots. Then, cover them with the mix to a depth of about 1/4 inch and keep them lightly moist until seedlings sprout; keep in a sunny spot at room temperature until you are ready to transplant them into larger containers. This must usually happen after the weather starts to warm up and after having the seeds in a smaller pot for about 4 to 6 weeks.

You can start by purchasing seedlings at a garden center or nursery, but don’t buy them more than a day or two before you’re ready to plant. Then, this makes sure that they’re in top shape when they go into the ground. Select compact, well-branched plants with flower buds and healthy, bright green leaves that aren’t discolored. If you can’t plant immediately, water the Zinnia seedlings and keep them in a shady spot until you’re ready. Then, plant seedlings in outdoor containers any time after the danger of frost has passed.

Gardening tips for growing Zinnia flowers indoors

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Tips for growing Zinnia flowers.
Tips for growing Zinnia flowers.
  • Zinnias can get insect problems like aphids and spider mites and fungal diseases (powdery mildew and black spot). To prevent these problems, grow Zinnias in full sun with plenty of air circulation. And, they don’t like to be crowded.
  • Plant Zinnias in rich soil amended with compost and also organic fertilizer. Zinnia plants don’t need supplemental fertilizer throughout the season.
  • Give Zinnias plenty of suns and grown in the shade are often leggy and susceptible to mildew.
  • It’s best to water in the morning so the plant leaves dry out quickly in the sun. If the water in the evening, the plant leaves will stay wet all night and be more prone to fungal problems.
  • Zinnias bloom best in full sun and you also can encourage more blooms by pinching back young spindly seedlings to make them bushier and by removing spent blossoms. You want your Zinnia plants to spend their energy making more flowers, not producing seed.

Growing Zinnia flowers from cuttings indoors

Step 1) Moisten 4 gallons of sphagnum peat moss by placing it in a container and then covering it with cold water. Allow the peat moss to soak in the water for 1 to 2 hours.

Step 2) Combine two quarts each of fine, sterile agricultural sand and agricultural perlite. Then, squeeze the excess water from the peat moss and mix it with the sand and perlite.

Step 3) Then, pour the mixed growing medium in five 6-inch pots to 1 inch from the top of each. Then, water the growing medium until water drains from the pots.

Step 4) Clean the blades of garden scissors with soapy water and allow them to air dry. Place the garden scissors and the razor blade in a solution of 1 part household bleach to about 9 parts water for 10 minutes, and then remove.

Step 5) Select five healthy side shoots from the Zinnias that have at least one leaf node on each. Cut about 3- or 4-inch-long sections of each of the side shoots that have the healthy nodes with the scissors, and pinch off all the leaves save for two. Then, make the cuts just under the nodes at 45-degree angles on each.

Step 6) Dig a 2-inch-deep hole in the growing medium with a pencil and then pour 2 tablespoons of rooting hormone powder on wax paper. Slice halfway through the leaf nodes using the razor blade and dip the bottom about 3/8 inch of each cutting in the hormone powder.

Step 7) Shake off the excess powder and put the cuttings in the holes without touching the sides. Mound the growing medium around the base of the stems and put the pots in a westerly facing window. If the temperature in your house is usually lower than 23°C, place the pots on a heating mat set to the lowest setting. Keep the soil moist until the Zinnias have new growth in about 2 to 4 weeks. 

Zinnia container care and maintenance

Zinnias suffer from a different variety of fungal diseases, including powdery mildew and alternaria leaf spot. In most cases, no cure exists for infected Zinnia plants. Planting Zinnias in well-draining soil reduces the risk of disease. Space the Zinnia plants so air circulates freely around them, and water them using soaker hoses and drip systems, rather than overhead sprinklers, to keep their leaves dry. Remove all diseased Zinnia plants, and discard them. Composting diseased Zinnia plants spread disease.

Leaf miners, aphids, spider mites, and beetles are among the insects that attack Zinnia plants. Treat leaf miners, aphids, and spider mites by spraying the undersides of the plant leaves with a strong stream of water. Alternatively, horticultural oil and soap is an effective treatment. Pick beetles from the Zinnia plants by hand, and destroy the insects.

Harvesting Zinnia flowers

Zinnia seed production will affect in a rapid decrease of flowering. Though, if we indeed want to collect Zinnia seeds, we can do it very easily. First, we have to stop deadheading the plant, to allow the Zinnia flower to produce seeds. Then, we can use paper bags (so that they absorb moisture) to collect the seeds. Simply, we may clip the flowers and gently rub them between fingers, so that the seeds will fall in our paper bag. After collecting them, we can spread them in shallow cases or some paper indoors, for a couple of weeks, to allow them to dry out completely.

Commonly asked questions about growing Zinnia flowers indoors

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Questions about growing Zinnia flowers.
Questions about growing Zinnia flowers.
Why are my Zinnias not growing?

Blooms produced by Zinnias need a great deal of energy from the plant. Because of this, Zinnias thrive best in full sunlight, requiring 6 or more hours per day. Too little sunlight for too long will prevent new Zinnia plants from germinating and seedlings from developing.

Why are my Zinnia seedlings dying?

The most common cause of early seedling death is “damping-off,” a fungal disease that affects the new plant stem just at soil level. Then, the stem becomes brown, rots and the little plant topples over and dies. Damping-off fungi are more of a problem in cold soils with poor drainage and conjunction with overwatering.

Why won’t my Zinnia seeds germinate?

The right care for Zinnia plants such as proper lighting, temperature, and water-needs can greatly vary depending on the type of seeds being sown. If Zinnias didn’t develop correctly, it is most likely a result of their specific care requirements.

How long does it take for a Zinnia seed to sprout?

Zinnia plants are known to germinate within roughly 7 to 10 days after sowing.

Do Zinnias come back every year?

Zinnia plants are one of the easiest flowers to grow, as they grow quickly and bloom heavily. Zinnias are annuals, so they will grow for one season and produce seeds, but the original plant will not come back in subsequent years.

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