After getting a few growing seasons under the belt, most flower gardeners have a sense of what thrives in their landscapes. So when it comes to container gardens, why not grow what you know? Many flowering favorites have dwarf cultivars that shine in hanging baskets, patio planters, and window boxes. And, these flowers usually have the same butterfly appeal, disease resistance, and floral abundance as their full-sized cousins.
Zinnia 'Profusion' A great variety of zinnias. We have planted lots of these in the landscape at the Mason City Parks. The popularity of annual zinnias has endured for decades, but the powdery mildew many plants suffer is not on trend for busy gardeners. However, zinnias in the 'Profusion' series not only resist mildew, but are also very drought tolerant, which is a bonus for containers that quickly dry out.
The summer bloomers top out at 12 to 18 inches, and come in orange, red, gold, and white shades. If the sun in your area is especially strong, you may have some color bleaching issues, but 'Profusion Double Hot Cherry' was recognized by All America Selections for its superior color retention.
If you have dreams of growing an organic garden from A-Z, you may want to start at the end with some easy growing, gorgeous zinnias. With broad blossoms, bright colors, and next to nothing to worry about ruining your tending efforts, zinnias are some of the easiest and most rewarding flowers to grow.
Zinnia Types and Varieties Considering height, color, and shape combinations, there are dozens and dozens of zinnia varieties to choose from. 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! Zinnias do best in full sun, choose your space(s) and get ready to start your spring zinnias!
Zinnias like well fed soil, so some compost worked into the ground early in the season will give the soil an edge before it’s time to get the zinnia seeds or plants in the ground. Moisture is important in early weeks, but make sure it doesn’t get soggy. Zinnias will last for around two months, so stagger multiple plantings in the garden in order to keep zinnia flowers in the garden from spring through fall. Heavy humidity might be your only obstacle to constant zinnias all summer long.
It’s hard to pinpoint a real challenge to growing zinnias. Resistant to pests, happy in most soils, and prolific bloomers, zinnias are very nearly “set it and forget it” plants. Water and sun will keep your zinnias blooming full and frequently. Too much water, on the other hand, will risk one of the only diseases zinnias are susceptible to: mildew. Keep water to about an inch a week, from all sources. And, as with most plants, avoid spraying the foliage and flowers as much as possible, and not at all during the heat of the day.
If you want full, bushy zinnia plants, pinch the top of the stems off of young plants. If you want to encourage tall zinnias, stake the largest so they don’t flop over. "Harvesting” zinnias as cut flowers will also encourage full growth, telling the zinnia to keep producing blooms until some are able to go to seed. Cut the stems above leave or bud nodes and the stems will keep growing and producing new blooms.
taken from http://organicgardening.about.com/od/startinganorganicgarden/fl/How-to-Plant-Zinnia-Seeds.htm
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa