Imagine: Your life revolves around work, family and keeping things in order day to day. The house and the property that surrounds it brings you great joy, and you love adding as many patches of bright colored flowers as possible. Whether picking bouquets for yourself or for parties, the zinnias are especially prized. They support the return of the monarch butterflies, while sustaining your own dream of making your yard a joyful, flower-filled celebration.
Name: Zinnia elegans aka zinnias – especially when grown from seed.
Type of Plant: A native of Mexico that has long been prized as an annual plant in all of North America. There are many cultivars of Zinnia, from short to tall, bushy to lean and lanky…and all have their merits. But today I’m singing the praises of the tall cutting-garden types that are easily grown from seed.
Why I love this: Every year I buy several packs of zinnia seeds. I love the mixes from Renee’s Garden and I always get several other types from other seed-sources as well. Zinnias are one of the most easy annuals to grow by planting seeds right in the ground. Just be sure to plant them in full sun.
A Word to the Wise: Don’t water these plants too often. Irrigate deeply once a week so that their leaves aren’t splashed with water too often. And know that in areas where powdery mildew can cover the foliage you can successfully dance with this problem. Pick the flowers, strip off mildew-covered leaves, and waltz into the house joyfully with your colorful bouquet.
Plant zinnias when the weather is warm – better later than too early because in cold, damp soil the seeds can rot. Better to wait until the first or second week in June (depending on the weather) in the Northeast or Upper Midwest.