How to Grow Zinnias

close up of pink zinniasclose up of pink zinnias

If you're looking for a prolific annual flower for gardens and bouquets in a wide range of colors, try zinnias. The plants range from low growing, to tall and statuesque. Flowers come in all the colors of the rainbow depending on the variety. Group them in a flower or vegetable garden for color and to attract bees and butterflies.

When & Where to Plant Zinnias

Light: Zinnias grow and flower best in full sun. They can flower in part shade, especially in warmer climates with afternoon shade, but they may be more susceptible to disease and have fewer flowers.

Soil: Zinnias grow best on fertile, well-drained soils high in organic matter. Well-drained soil is important because zinnia seedlings can be prone to rotting in cool, wet soils.

Spacing: Plant zinnia seeds a few inches apart in rows or clumps. Thin to 8 to 18 inches apart, depending upon the variety, once the plant has grown four leaves.

Planting: Plant zinnias in spring after all danger of frost has passed, around the same time you'd plant tomatoes. Zinnias are easy to grow directly-seeded into the garden. For sooner blooms, start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before your last frost date.

colorful zinnia gardencolorful zinnia garden
Zinnias are some of the most reliable and colorful annuals to plant for those who wish to attract pollinators to both the butterfly and veggie garden.

How to Grow Zinnias Throughout the Season

Growth Habit: Zinnias come in a wide variety of plant sizes. Some are low-growing. 1-foot tall plants with a mounding habit. Others are 3-foot tall plants with big flowers. Plant the right variety for your usage and that your space allows. Mounding varieties have smaller flowers and produce more ornamental looking plants. Taller varieties are often used for cutting and are best grown in rows or clumps for a better visual effect.

Staking:

Watering: Zinnias need moist soil to grow their best. This is especially true of young plants. Water deeply a few times a week so the soil stays moist 6 to 8 inches deep. Don't overwater because zinnias can also succumb to rot diseases especially on wet, clay soils. Once established, zinnias a relatively drought tolerant.

Fertilizing: Amend the soil before planting zinnias with compost. When flowers start to form, side dress with an organic 5-5-5 fertilizer to get more and bigger blossoms.

Mulching: Mulch zinnias once they are established with a 2 inch layer of straw or bark mulch. This will help preserve soil moisture and prevent weed growth.

Trimming & Pruning: Deadhead (trim) spent flowers regularly to promote more flowering and to keep the plant tidy. To create bushier plants on tall varieties, pinch the growth tip of the plant when young. This will stimulate more side branching, a shorter plant, and more flowers. However, it may delay flowering, especially in cool summer areas.

monarch landing on zinniamonarch landing on zinnia
Zinnias are a preferred nectar plant of Monarch butterflies.
  1. Under The Sea Zinnia Seed Mix

    ‘Under The Sea’ Zinnia Mix includes three colors that will remind you of the tropics! Nectar-rich berry purple, white sand, and coral pink flowers blooms all summer. Long-bloomin...

    Learn More
    Under The Sea Zinnia Seed Mix Under The Sea Zinnia Mix Zinnia elegans Under The Sea Mix
    As low as $10.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    ‘Under The Sea’ Zinnia Mix includes three colors that will remind you of the tropics! Nectar-rich berry purple, white sand, and coral pink flowers blooms all summer. Long-blooming flowers have rich colors and will attract butterflies and pollinators. Plant these easy-to-grow and deer resistant seeds in full sun – make sure to plant enough for cut flower bouquets! Annual. All of the seed we carry at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
    Learn More
  2. South Of The Border Zinnia Seed

    ‘South of the Border’ Zinnia Mix is a bright, bold mix of yellow, red, and bicolor flowers. As the name hints, these flowers originated in warm, sunny Mexico, and are native to t...

    Learn More
    South Of The Border Zinnia Seed Mix South Of The Border Zinnia Mix Zinnia elegans South Of The Border Mix
    As low as $10.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    ‘South of the Border’ Zinnia Mix is a bright, bold mix of yellow, red, and bicolor flowers. As the name hints, these flowers originated in warm, sunny Mexico, and are native to the Southwestern US as well. Count on Zinnias to attract butterflies and beneficial pollinators from summer right up until frost and provide plenty of excellent cut flowers. Zinnias are easy to grow and deer resistant. All of the seed we carry at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow. Annual.
    Learn More
  3. Fruity Beauty Zinnia Seed Mix

    ‘Fruity Beauty’ Zinnia Mix includes three candy-colored Zinnia varieties. Saturated coral, yellow, and orange flowers provide instant cheer with ruffled blooms all summer! Long-b...

    Learn More
    Fruity Beauty Zinnia Seed Mix Fruity Beauty Zinnia Mix Zinnia elegans Fruity Beauty Mix
    As low as $10.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    ‘Fruity Beauty’ Zinnia Mix includes three candy-colored Zinnia varieties. Saturated coral, yellow, and orange flowers provide instant cheer with ruffled blooms all summer! Long-blooming annual flowers are nectar rich,and will attract plenty of pollinators. Zinnias are easy to grow, deer resistant, and will make beautiful, bright cut flowers. Annual. All of the seed we carry at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow.
    Learn More
  4. Coral Zinnia Seeds

    Coral Zinnia, in the 2019 Pantone Color of The Year, is a beautiful warm pink flower to include in your garden. Brightly colored flowers on long, sturdy stems are offset nicely by de...

    Learn More
    Coral Zinnia Seeds Coral Zinnia Zinnia elegans Coral
    As low as $10.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Coral Zinnia, in the 2019 Pantone Color of The Year, is a beautiful warm pink flower to include in your garden. Brightly colored flowers on long, sturdy stems are offset nicely by deep green foliage. Zinnias attract butterflies and beneficial pollinators from summer to frost. These easy to grow flowers will provide plenty of cut flowers. Zinnias are deer resistant, too! All of the seed we carry at American Meadows is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow. Annual.
    Learn More
  5. Red Zinnia Seeds Will Roger, Zinnia elegans

    Creating huge color with classic red blooms all summer long, this Dahlia-flowering Zinnia is the perfect choice for any sunny spot in the garden or meadow. Growing to be about 30” ...

    Learn More
    Zinnia Seeds Will Roger Zinnia Zinnia elegans
    As low as $9.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Creating huge color with classic red blooms all summer long, this Dahlia-flowering Zinnia is the perfect choice for any sunny spot in the garden or meadow. Growing to be about 30” tall, pair this beauty with other Zinnias or plant on its own for a bold, red look. Will Rogers attracts a variety of pollinators to the garden, providing nectar throughout the season.
    Learn More
  6. Red Zinnia Seeds Super Yoga, Zinnia elegans

    Full, double red blooms create a dramatic statement in the summer garden, lasting until frost. Zinnia Super Yoga Scarlet is extremely easy to grow, thriving in any sunny spot with we...

    Learn More
    Zinnia Seeds Super Yoga Zinnia Zinnia elegans
    As low as $12.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Full, double red blooms create a dramatic statement in the summer garden, lasting until frost. Zinnia Super Yoga Scarlet is extremely easy to grow, thriving in any sunny spot with well-draining soil. We recommend giving this variety room to grow into large, bushy plants, which will provide larger blooms for you to enjoy. Like all Zinnias, pollinators love this variety and will come to your garden or meadow for a snack throughout the season.
    Learn More
  7. Purple Zinnia Seeds Purple Prince, Zinnia elegans, Dahlia Flowered Zinnia Purple Prince

    Huge, Dahlia-like blooms bring long-lasting purple beauty to the garden, flowering all summer until frost. A taller variety, Purple Prince is perfect as a backdrop for other Zinnias ...

    Learn More
    Zinnia Seeds Purple Prince Dahlia Flowered Zinnia Purple Prince Zinnia elegans
    As low as $14.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Huge, Dahlia-like blooms bring long-lasting purple beauty to the garden, flowering all summer until frost. A taller variety, Purple Prince is perfect as a backdrop for other Zinnias or planted on its own for a wonderfully-purple statement in the summer months! Annual.
    Learn More
  8. White Zinnia Seeds Polar Bear, Zinnia elegans

    Large, white blooms contrast with golden centers and gorgeous, bright green foliage. Zinnia Polar Bear creates an elegant statement in the meadow and can be planted on its own or pai...

    Learn More
    Zinnia Seeds Polar Bear Zinnia Polar Bear Zinnia elegans
    As low as $14.95
    Per 1/4 Pound
    Large, white blooms contrast with golden centers and gorgeous, bright green foliage. Zinnia Polar Bear creates an elegant statement in the meadow and can be planted on its own or paired with other Zinnia varieties such as Red Queen for a dramatic look. Annual.
    Learn More

Zinnias: End of Season Care

Dividing & Transplanting: Zinnias are annual flowers so don't need dividing. However, they can be finicky about being transplanted. If growing them indoors for transplanting, use larger peat or plastic pots so you don't have to transplant more than once. Try not to disturb the roots when moving the plants.

Pests & Disease: The biggest pests of zinnias are powdery mildew disease and Japanese beetles. Powdery mildew disease is especially prevalent in humid areas of the country in late summer. A white film develops on the leaves. Eventually the leaves turn yellow and drop. The whole plant can quickly get infected making it look messy and reducing its overall flowering. To prevent powdery mildew, space plants further apart to increase air flow, grow disease-resistant varieties, and apply preventative sprays early in the season. Neem oil and Serenade (Bacillus subtilis) are two organic sprays that work well to prevent the spread of powdery mildew. You can make your own organic spray by adding 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 tablespoon of horticultural oil in 1 gallon of water. Aphids also can attack zinnia leaves causing them to curl and yellow. Knock aphids off zinnia leaves with a strong spray of water from a hose.

Japanese beetles love zinnias and are often found feeding and shredding the leaves. To control Japanese beetles, apply beneficial nematodes or milky spore powder in the early summer and fall to kill the c-shaped, white grubs in the soil. These are the larvae of the adult beetles. Use beneficial nematodes in colder areas. To reduce the adult beetle population in summer, set out Japanese beetle traps at least 200 feet away from your garden in a perimeter around your property. In this way, the flying beetles will find the traps before they find your plants. You can also handpick the adults in the morning while they are sluggish and drop them in a pail of soapy water.


To learn more about the seeds & plants we sell and how to grow them in your garden beds and patio containers, sign up for our inspiring emails.

© 2019 AmericanMeadows.com All rights reserved