Eye On Life Magazine

Lifestyle * Literary

Eye on Life Magazine is a Lifestyle and Literary Magazine.  Enjoy articles on gardening, kitchen cooking, poetry, vintage decor, and more.

Easy to Grow Flowers - Zinnias

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Among the most beloved of easy to grow flowers, zinnias, rank high on desirable flowers both for the garden and for using in floral arrangements.  When German botanist, Johann Gottfried Zinn first described the Zinnia, little did he know that this quaint Mexican wildflower wasn't a stranger to Europeans.  It had actually been discovered by Spanish explorers over 150 years before.  They were thought so homely as a flower that they even had their own nickname - Mal de ojos  - Sickness of the eye.  The natives thought them an eyesore, not a plant of beauty.

Zinnias are one of the plant species that have evolved far from what they once were when first discovered.  The original Mexican species that Zinn first described (z. elegans), were spindly not very attractive plants, although unique.  The now twenty some varieties that are popular today, are much more spectacular.  They are divided according to height into "Tall" (30 inches or more) to "Medium" (to 20 inches) to "Dwarf" (from twelve to fifteen inches).  Zinnias are further divided into subcategories of:  quilled, twisted, and the ever popular double.

Growth Guide For Growing Zinnias

Generally, zinnas are grown from seed and in more northern states usually started in flats indoors near the end of March.  Some gardeners prefer to start them outdoors later in the annual season. 

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The tall varieties of zinnias should be placed about two feet apart.  The medium varieties of zinnias should be about a foot apart.   All zinnias grow best in light well fertilized soil and always in full sun.   

Feed and Care of Zinnias 

If you want the largest and best looking zinnias in town, then you will want to feed your zinnias about every three weeks without fail.  This will give you larger and more perfect zinnias.  Remember. all varieties of zinnias bloom from early summer to late fall (first hard frost).  This is the reason for their continued great popularity among home gardeners.   

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Zinnias and Leaf Diseases

The only negative any gardener will have to say about zinnias is that they are prone to leaf diseases, especially in late season.  Powdery mildew, leaf spot,. leaf blight, and mosaic are typical zinnia leaf problems.  A lot depends on how much rain you get during the summer months.  Leaf problems will not affect the beauty of your zinnias though.

The wetter your climate, the more you will have problems with zinnia leaf diseases.  All of these are easily controllable.  However, with the mosaic you should always remove and burn any mottled leaves to prevent spreading.