Thursday, June 27, 2013

Annuals from seed...... Zinnia

Michele K. Koskinen

Burpee Queen Red Lime Zinnia

Annuals from the local nursery or other annual vendor are the preference for most busy gardeners to get that shot of instant color for their garden or containers. Marigolds, impatiens, ageratum. petunias, vinca, all common and well loved annuals.

So how about the beautiful flowers you can't purchase readily? Flowers difficult to find or only obtained by growing from seed. Nasturtiums, Morning Glory, Sweet Peas,  feathery Cosmos, sunflowers, and the wonderful selection of Zinnia.  Not instant color but once at their peak a constant cutting garden throughout the summer and into the fall. 

A  fondness for perennials, my garden always has color holes at certain times during the growing season. In the past common annuals purchased at the local nursery have been used to fill the gaps with much success but, everyone has the same flowers. While attending the Philadelphia Flower Show I spyed a Green Zinnia with other annuals only grown from seed. Roadside stands often sell zinnias as a cut bouquet. Zinnias were also a flower of my childhood. Everyone had zinnias in their gardens. They have for years been the annual of choice for many gardeners. So why not plant zinnias to fill the gaps? 
Landreth Envy
I purchased a pack of D. Landreth Seed and planted the seed among the perennials.  The results were a beautiful green flower that attracted the butterflies and bees to my garden and I had beautiful color to the fall. This year I have planted more varieties for a bigger splash of color. This may become my next best annual for containers and perennial garden as it is colorful and is somewhat drought tolerant.

Zinnias grow from petite 6" to over a stakable 40 inches in height. The blossoms are single and double varying in diameter from less than an inch to 7 inches. Colors range from single to multi and mixed. Seeds can be sown early but zinnia's do not transplant well. If starting the seed early, using a peat pot and then planting directly into the ground is advisable. They are also prone to powdery mildew so be advised that should be taken into consideration when choosing the zinnia. 

Burpee Striped Candy Cane mix

Old Mexico

From the National Garden Bureau Inc.  National Garden Bureau...Zinnias  
Zinnia Profusion 5 Color Mix
For decades, zinnias have been the flowering annual of choice for spreading glorious colors throughout the garden as well as for cutting to bring indoors. But it wasn't always so. When the Spanish first saw zinnia species in Mexico, they thought the flower was so unattractive they named it mal de ojos, or "sickness of the eye!" Years of breeding have brought striking new colors, shapes, sizes, and growing habits to the humble zinnia. No present day gardener would ever describe this versatile bloomer as anything less than eye catching.

Additional links for information on Zinnias:
organic gardening.learn-and-grow zinnias
Zinnias in containers

No comments:

Post a Comment