Plant Zinnias In Your Garden For Vibrant Benefits

group of red, orange, and yellow zinnias

Few plants bring as much joy to a garden as zinnias. These cheerful annuals are easy to grow and come in a rainbow of colors, making them perfect for any home gardener.

From plain old beauty to being a favorite of bees, the benefits of growing zinnias make them a shoo-in for any garden! Keep reading to find out all the reasons, and learn some tips on how to get the most out of these vibrant flowers.

If you’re looking for a summertime favorite that will add beauty and color to your garden, look no further than zinnias!

1. Attract pollinators

Zinnias are one of the best flowers for attracting pollinators. Bees and butterflies are drawn to their brightly colored petals, and hummingbirds fly in to find the nectar.

In addition to being a great source of food for pollinators, zinnias also provide them with a place to rest. The petals provide a landing pad for bees, and the leaves are large and offer a place for butterflies to perch. 

2. Attract beneficial insects

As any gardener knows, beneficial insects play an essential role in the health of a garden. Ladybugs, for example, help to control aphid populations, while lacewings help to control mealybugs and other soft-bodied pests.

These predators are a perfect organic solution to keep your garden healthy, and they’re attracted to the same bright colors as bees and butterflies. Many of the insects will lay eggs on the underside of the zinnia leaves, so keep an eye out for them to guarantee future generations in your garden.

3. Add color and charm to the garden

Zinnias come in a wide range of colors, from traditional yellow, red, and orange to pink, red, purple, and even green. They’re perfect for adding a pop of color to any garden, and they bloom all summer long.

pink zinnia in front of garden flowers
What a pretty sight for any garden.

You can even plant varieties to match the season, from soft blush and cream in the spring to golden yellow, rust, and orange in the fall. For a great fall-colored zinnia, try Persian Carpet or Jazzy Mix.

4. Maximize space by interplanting

Zinnias are perfect for interplanting, which means planting them between other plants in your garden. This method is a great way to maximize space and get the most out of your garden.

Not only will you be able to fit more plants into a smaller space, but zinnias can also help to fill in gaps as other plants die back.

5. Pick a bouquet every day

Zinnias are one of the best flowers for cutting. They produce an abundance of brightly colored blooms over the summer months, and they last well in a vase. 

And because they bloom so profusely, you can cut a bouquet every day and still have plenty of flowers left in the garden for the pollinators to enjoy.

6. Self-sow for next season

Zinnias are annuals, which means they only last one growing season. But if you let them go to seed at the end of the season, they will self-sow and come back next year.

group of pink zinnias with one faded flower
Leave a few flowers behind to get a jump start on next year’s flowers.

Self-sowing means you don’t have to buy new plants every year, and it also ensures that your zinnias will be well-adapted to your specific growing conditions.

Plus, birds will be able to enjoy the seeds over the fall and winter, making zinnias an excellent choice for gardeners wanting to attract wildlife.

Tips to add zinnias to the garden

Zinnias are a low-maintenance flower, but even so, they benefit from a little care. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your zinnias:

Plant in full sun

Zinnias need at least six hours of sunlight per day to bloom well. If you live in an area with hot summers, try planting them in a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade.

Plant in well-drained soil

Zinnias need soil that drains well to prevent root rot. If your soil is heavy, try planting them in raised beds or on slopes. You can also plant zinnias in containers and situate them within your garden to still get all the benefits.

Fertilize monthly

Zinnias benefit from a monthly application of fertilizer, especially if they’re grown in containers. A general-purpose fertilizer or one specifically for flowers will work well.

Deadhead regularly

To keep zinnias blooming throughout the summer, it’s important to deadhead them regularly. This means removing the spent blooms so that the plant can focus its energy on producing new ones.

Toward the end of the season, you can leave some flower heads behind to drop seeds and feed the birds.

Stake tall varieties

Tall zinnias can get top-heavy and flop over, so it’s good to stake them. Staking will also help keep the flowers from getting dirty or damaged and promote long stems for cutting.

You can use fence posts, bamboo stakes, or corral the flowers with twine. For even more ideas, check out this article, 8 Ways To Stop Your Zinnias From Falling Over.

To use support already in the garden, try interplanting tall zinnia varieties with sunflowers, pole beans, or next to tomato trellises. The tall plants and structures can provide built-in support for the flowers.

Watch for powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that can affect zinnias. It’s characterized by a white, powdery growth on the leaves and stems of the plant.

To prevent powdery mildew, water your zinnias at the base of the plant instead of from above. This will help keep the leaves dry and prevent the fungus from taking hold.

If powdery mildew does appear, remove the affected leaves and dispose of them in the trash.

Grow a variety of heights

Zinnias come in a wide range of heights, from dwarf varieties that only grow a few inches tall to giant varieties that reach up to four feet. Try growing a few different types to add more visual interest to the garden and your bouquets.

Sow a fresh crop midsummer

Zinnias will start to look a little ragged after a couple of months of blooming, but you can extend their season by sowing a fresh crop in midsummer. A second sowing will give you a whole new batch of plants to enjoy in the fall.

You can either tuck seeds into open spots in the garden or start a flat of seeds in a sunny area and transplant them to the garden when they’re a few inches tall. Starting the seeds indoors will help make sure you’re not planting too late.

tray of zinnia seedlings
Zinnia seedlings will grow quickly for a fresh midsummer planting.

Protect from frost

Will A Frost Knock Out Your Zinnia Flowers? The short answer is yes.

Zinnias are sensitive to frost and should be planted after the last frost date in your area. Cover the plants with a sheet or blanket to protect them if a late frost is forecast. 

Further reading

Now that you know just how beneficial zinnias are to the garden, keep reading to find the right buddy for your flowers: Zinnia Companions: 7 Flowers & Vegetables To Plant With Zinnias

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