Growing Indoor Zinnias: Caring For Zinnias As Houseplants

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Zinnias are bright, cheery members of the daisy family, closely related to the sunflower. Zinnias are popular with gardeners because they’re so easy to get along with, even in climates with long, hot summers. Like many summer-blooming flowers, zinnias are annuals, meaning they germinate, bloom, set seed, and die in a single year. They typically aren’t well-suited for the indoor environment, and the idea of zinnias as houseplants may not be realistic.

However, if you’re interested in trying your hand at indoor zinnias, go ahead and give it a shot. Potted zinnia flowers may live a few months indoors, but don’t expect zinnias as houseplants to survive indefinitely. Here are some tips for indoor zinnia care.

Indoor Zinnia Care

Although you can grow zinnias from seed, it’s easiest to start with small bedding plants from a garden center or nursery. Look for dwarf zinnias, as regular varieties can become top-heavy and may tip over.

Plant in a container filled with good quality potting mix. Add a generous handful of sand to improve drainage. Be sure the container has at least one drainage hole in the bottom, as the plants won’t last long in soggy growing conditions.

Outdoor zinnias get plenty of bright, natural sunlight, and even your brightest window may not provide enough light. You’ll probably need a high-intensity grow light, or a regular two-tube fluorescent fixture with one cool tube and one warm tube.

Water indoor zinnias whenever the top inch (2.5 cm.) of soil feels dry to the touch. Be careful not to overwater, and never let the pot stand in water. Fertilize potted flowers every other week, using a dilute solution of a water-soluble fertilizer.

Zinnias as houseplants will last longer if you deadhead blooms as soon as they wilt. Use shears or clippers, or just pinch the blooms with your fingernails.

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Considering the height, color, and shape combinations, there are dozens and dozens of zinnia varieties to choose from. Since it’s so easy to collect seeds from zinnia plants, try sticking with heirloom varieties that will produce reliable replicas year after year. Still, there are lots of options when deciding which zinnias to plant.

Zinnias come in a range of shape types, including varieties that resemble daisies or dahlias, tight blossoms in beehive shapes, small button blooms, and large floppy blossoms. As a quick, easy annual, you can tuck zinnias around other plants or make a full zinnia patch. Mix up height and color–have fun playing with the many options zinnias provide without having to cater to pickier plants.

Some fun varieties to check out include:

  • ‘Envy’--bright, chartreuse green blooms
  • ‘Carousel’--multicolored and sturdy
  • Burpee ‘Rose Giant Cactus’--with a vintage feel and full, pointed petals
  • ‘Will Rogers’--with shocking red, large blooms

Zinnias do best in full sun, so gather your collection of zinnia seeds, choose your space(s), and get ready to start your spring zinnias.

Intro: Zinnias are beautiful flowers that are great for butterfly gardens. Zinnia flowers come in white, light green, yellow, orange, red and purple. There are many different Zinnia species, but the most common is Z. elegans. Zinnias have different flower petal arrangements – some have a single row of flower petals, while others have multiple rows that give the flower a more full, dome shape. These easy-to-grow flowers are great for plant containers in urban balcony gardens.

Check out this video of a zinnia flower blooming.

Scientific Name: Zinnia elegans

Water: Water your zinnia flowers regularly so the potting soil stays constantly moist. Water below the plant, close to the soil so no water touches the zinnia plant's foliage.

Fertilizer: Regularly fertilize your zinnia flowers with a balanced water-soluble plant fertilizer. Fertilizing once a month or smaller doses every two weeks will keep your zinnia plants flowering and looking their best in your apartment garden.

Temperature: Zinnia flowers are typically grown as annuals, so you do not need to overwinter these container plants indoors. The important thing to remember with zinnia flowers is to not plant them outdoors until nighttime temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pests and Diseases: You may find common garden pests such as aphids, caterpillars, mealy bugs and spider mites on your zinnia flowers. Zinnia diseases can include powdery mildew, wilt, and bacterial and fungal spots. Avoid diseases by being careful to not splash water on the leaves when watering.

Propagation: To propagate, use seeds produced by the zinnia’s flowers to plant more zinnias in the balcony garden.

Misc. Info: Taller zinnia varieties, which don’t do as well in plant containers as the shorter varieties, may need stakes to help them grow straight. Deadhead or cut extra tall growth to promote fuller growth and flower production. If you deadhead your zinnias, they will produce more and more flowers, and the flower duration for each season should be about 10 weeks.

Zinnia flowers: growing, care and use

Zinnia flowers are one of the most beautiful. Not only do they bloom profusely and for a very long time, they also differ in the variety of species. Terry zinnia, zinnia magenta prince, zinnia liliput, California giant zinnias - there are a huge number of different varieties, and over time they become much more. Zinnias love to grow summer residents, they adorn urban flowerbeds, they make wonderful bouquets, which, I must say, look as impressive as the same roses.

How to grow zinnia flowers

It’s easy to grow them special efforts are not required. The only thing that zinnias really need is a sufficient amount of light and heat. Shaded areas for planting are not suitable, since in this case the plants will be weak, and the flowers themselves will be very small. Zinnia should be planted in open ground when stable warm weather is established outside the window. Even the smallest frosts are destructive for flowers, however, their seeds, until they have sprouted, are not afraid of frost. But if it suddenly happens that already grown zinnias or even their flowers are exposed to frost, cut off the affected areas, and new sprouts will subsequently grow in their place.

If you want the zinnias to bloom much earlier, you need to plant the seedlings first. Landing is carried out in April. This can be done both indoors and in the greenhouse. Pre-sowing is carried out, and after the shoots have risen, after waiting a bit, the plants should be dived.

In order for the seedlings to take root well, and the zinnias subsequently pleased with abundant flowering, you need to add humus to the area where you plan to plant flowers, and also make mineral fertilizers. The optimal distance between the flowers of zinnia is 20x40 cm. Before planting the seedlings, dig small holes, pour them with water, and only then plant the seedlings. So there is a high probability that the plants will take root well.

If planting seedlings for you is troublesome enough, then zinnia flowers can be sown immediately in open ground. Be sure to spread the film on the plantings before emergence.

How to care for zinnias

Caring for zinnias is easy. If the weather is dry outside, then the plants should be watered. But do not overfill, as they do not like it. Of course, weeding is required, because weeds are unlikely to brighten up your flower bed. Zinnia has a positive attitude to top dressing, so do not be lazy and at least occasionally introduce special floral organic fertilizers into the soil.

Tip: so that zinnias bloom for a very long time, tear off faded flowers.

How to propagate zinnia flowers

The first time you, of course, buy seeds at any flower shop. In the future, you can do the same, but you can do much easier. Just do not pick the first few flowers, but leave them for seeds. Choose the first flowers, as they will have time to ripen and will have the greatest germination. Store the collected seeds in a dry place, protected from sunlight.

Here, in fact, everything you need to know about zinnias. Of course, I did not focus your attention on all the many types of these flowers, but believe me, there are so many of them that just your eyes run up. By the way, zinnia flowers in their shape can be simple, double and semi-double. Some species, or rather their inflorescences, are very similar to other flowers, the same chrysanthemums, gaylardii, dahlias. Many often confuse them. Their color is also very diverse - red, orange, lilac, pink. There are even white zinnias. Each year, breeders develop new varieties. So in due time appeared zinnias, the flower of which consists of several shades at once.

Thus, if you just want to drown in flowers in your summer cottage, be sure to plant zinnias along with others, and your soul will rejoice every time you look at them.

Transplant Your Zinnia Flowers

After the last frost, your zinnia flowers can be placed in the garden. Look for a place that gets plenty of direct sun to promote strong, healthy flowers. Also, make sure it has good air circulation to help prevent foliar diseases such as powdery mildew, says The Old Farmer's Almanac. The best soil for zinnia flowers is rich in organic matter, but these plants will adapt to most soil conditions. The area should have good drainage because zinnia flowers don't like to be wet.

It usually takes up to 60 or 70 days to grow zinnia flowers from seeds to blooms. Once the seedlings start to flower, you will need to deadhead them often to promote more blooms. Throughout the growing season, make sure the soil remains moist and water as needed to retain moisture. Fertilize lightly to encourage growth and plenty of flowers. Enjoy them all summer until the first hard frost arrives in fall.

Basics of Zinnia Care

Zinnias fare well in dry conditions and can survive droughts. When watering zinnias, sprinkle the water at the base of the plant only. Keeping the leaves dry is key to preventing the fungal diseases that affect zinnias, which include leaf spot and powdery mildew, and other conditions, including bacterial leaf rot. Good air circulation also can help keep zinnia plants disease-free.

Pinching zinnias back when they are small makes tidy, bushy plants. To encourage the production of new flowers throughout the duration of the growing season, Michigan State University Extension encourages gardeners to remove dead zinnia flower heads, a process known as ​deadheading​. If that sounds like too much of a chore, however, the Chicago Botanical Garden suggests choosing zinnias in the 'Zahara' series, which include Coral Rose and Double Zahara Fire. These zinnias are self-cleaning and therefore don't require deadheading, and they are also resistant to powdery mildew.

Watch the video: How to Grow Zinnia from Seed to Flower - in Borders and in Containers

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