It’s that time of year again… seed catalog time! Page after page of brilliant blooms and luscious vegetables are arriving in your mailbox now, and as you flip through, you can’t help but be tempted. I know I always am. The thing is (and I’m making a confession here) – I’m terrible at growing things from seed. I have a bad habit of neglecting the seedlings, postponing the transplanting too long, and ultimately wasting a lot of money in failed seed experiments. However, there are a few species of seeds that are pretty much fool-proof, and even I can’t screw them up too much. If I can start these seeds, you can too. Over my next few posts, I’ll be sharing my recommendations for Seeds for Beginners, beginning with today’s focus – zinnias.
A Little About Zinnias:
Zinnias are New World flowers, with native habitat stretching from the Southern U.S. down to South America. Mexico is a hotspot for this genus, with the most diversity occurring there, including the most familiar species, Zinnia elegans. As you might expect from their natural growing areas, zinnias tolerate heat well, although some species are susceptible to mildew. Advances in breeding and hybridization have produced species and cultivars that are very disease-resistant, performing well even in the muggy summers of the Southeast. Zinnias are annuals, and many self-sow readily in the garden each year. Zinnias are a must-have in a butterfly garden, and hummingbirds enjoy some of the species as well.
Why I Love Zinnias from Seed:
- You can start these indoors or broad sow them outdoors, with equal success.
- The seeds are a decent size, and don’t disappear once you pour them into your hand.
- No special preparation of the seeds is required – just drop them in and let them go.
- They sprout quickly and grow like wildfire once they get going.
- Though you can’t let seedlings dry out completely, if you miss a day or two of watering, they perk up pretty quickly when you do water again.
Five Zinnias to Try:
- Profusion Apricot (Zinnia hybrida, Park Seed)
- Zowie! Yellow Flame (Zinnia elegans, Park Seed)
- Queen Red Lime (Zinnia elegans, Burpee)
- Raspberry Lemonade Mix (Zinnia marylandica, Burpee)
- Envy (Zinnia elegans, Park Seed)
- Seed Starting Tips
- Starting Seeds Indoors
- Starting Vegetable Seeds Indoors
- Wildflower Seed Planting – Sowing Seed