How long after planting out will my Zinnia flower?

dcrosby(5MA)March 17, 2012

Dear Garden Folk

If I plant my seedlings out 6-8 weeks after starting (per 'From Seed to Bloom') how long will it take for the seedlings to flower?

Thanks so much!

Dale

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Depends on the variety and its DTM. On average 4-6 weeks. Since they are so fast growing Zinnias are normally direct seeded for faster blooming. Using transplants sets them back 10-14 days.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 1:18PM
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dcrosby(5MA)

Dear Dave

I'm sorry (to be stupid) but I don't quite understand your post. If I start them now (in pods) how long before they flower? Do you mean 4-6 weeks after they are healthy (i hope) seedlings?

I'm growing Sunbow with a maturity date of 90 days and Oklahoma which says it flowers for 12 weeks.

I don't start from seeds in the garden as I am in a condo and don't have enough access to tend to them properly.

Thanks!

Dale

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 3:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

No problem. The two methods of growing from seed are

(1) after threat of frost has passed, plant the seeds outside directly in the ground or the container they will be growing in all season or

(2) start them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in small containers and then when 6-8" tall and threat of frost has passed, transplant (move) them to their permanent growing place outside.

With zinnas, because they grow so fast and because they don't really like to be transplanted, most folks direct seed them (method 1) in their permanent growing spot/container. But from your original post I read that you started your seedlings indoors or method 2, correct? If so then your zinnias will bloom approx. 4 weeks after you plant them outside.

If you use method 1 zinnias will bloom 6-8 weeks after the seeds are planted. But if you use method 2 they will bloom 4-6 weeks AFTER they are transplanted outside depending on the weather and their growing conditions.

The reason for the difference is that DTM (days to maturity/bloom) is figured from the date they are planted in their permanent place and NOT from the day you plant the seed inside. The growing conditions are very different and moving the plant - changing its growing conditions - from one to another causes it to switch gears (if you will), what is called "setting the plant back". How much the delay is increased depends on the variety. The smaller, dwarf varieties recover faster than the big ones do.

Hope this helps.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 3:37PM
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dcrosby(5MA)

Curious⦠if i went 50/50 would i get better results?
what if i started them indoors and transplanted them as soon as they come up or maybe after the first set of true leaves.
how would that work out? Would they still suffer the "setting the plant back" syndrome?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 6:27PM
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franknjim

I am not a zinnia expert by any means but I started some from seed indoors on Feb 1st. A few Thumbelina, White Wedding and Purple Prince. At about 6" tall some of them started developing flower buds and still are developing them. I keep pinching them off and pinching off the growing tip after a couple pairs of leaves form to get them to branch out and to keep them from getting too big before I can put them outdoors.

I sometimes start things way too early.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 7:06PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I direct sow a large patch of tall Zinnias every year, usually a mix of tall varieties like Cut & Come Again, State Fair, and others. These are heat-lovers, so I direct sow them around June 1st when the soil warms up. By mid to late July, they are starting to bloom, so about 6-8 weeks? Maybe sooner if they were in full sun, I have a lot of trees so mine grow in 4-6 hours sun, not quite full sun.

Btw, there are many other methods of growing from seed besides the 2 listed above. I.e. winter-sowing with recycled containers, using a greenhouse, cold frame, or hoop house, frost-seeding, growing on a sunny windowsill, etc.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 8:16AM
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zen_man

Dale,

"...if I went 50/50 would I get better results? What if I started them indoors and transplanted them as soon as they come up or maybe after the first set of true leaves. How would that work out? Would they still suffer the "setting the plant back" syndrome?"

As others have said, zinnias grow fast and bloom in 6 to 8 weeks. They tend to outgrow any of those little starting pots in about three weeks. So starting them three weeks early and then setting them out would be a better plan than starting them 6-8 weeks early.

ZM

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:23AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Dale - any time you change the environment, the growing conditions, of a growing thing it is "set back", it must adjust. "Changing its growing conditions" includes transplanting at any stage, changing its soil, its air temps both day or night, its sun exposure, its nutrient levels, pinching/pruning, etc.

If you are trying to force the blooms for some reason, if by 'better results' you mean faster blooming then the shortest time frame between seed and a bloom is with direct seeding the plant right where it will spend its life. Any other approach interrupts the growth process.

Btw, there are many other methods of growing from seed besides the 2 listed above. I.e. winter-sowing with recycled containers, using a greenhouse, cold frame, or hoop house, frost-seeding, growing on a sunny windowsill, etc

The 2 methods of growing from seed are direct seeding or growing under cover, what I mistakenly called "indoors". All the other methods you mention are under cover methods and all, even winter sowing, involve a change in the growing conditions.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 10:52AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Frost seeding is done outdoors during the late fall or winter. It works great for prairies and meadows, also for turf grass. I sow grass seed during the winter, the best time being right before a snow storm.

I do a little growing under lights, but do almost all the annuals and veggies in cups or small pots, lined up in trays or plastic boxes, along the south side of the foundation of the house. They don't have covers, except perhaps the overhang on the roof, which isn't very big. This spot has the advantage of being one of the warmest microclimates in the yard, protected from frost by the concrete foundation, and gets pretty good sun, at least until the canopy trees fill in with leaves in May, then it's only partial sun.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 11:13AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I dug up the exact dates from last year - this pic was taken August 3rd, and the Zinnias were direct-sown on June 5th, so this is what they looked like after approx. 2 months -

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 11:30AM
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dcrosby(5MA)

Thanks everyone for their thoughts! and pics (terrene�good to see direct sowing in action)

in light of all this experience...i�m going to do an experiment

direct sow some, put out some after the 1st true leaves and transplant some after they hit 6"

and the race is on!! (will be, anyway)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 2:56PM
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dcrosby(5MA)

dear garden folk

i just reread my recent post and realized that i didn't thank ya'all enough for all your time and information
so...Thank you!

dale

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 3:33PM
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chrisgardener

Terrence- the zinnia seeds that I planted directly in the ground are starting to look just like yours in your picture! I noticed that you have a plant that doesn't look the the zinnias that has much narrower glossy smooth leaves on the lower edge of your picture. I have one of those mixed in with my zinnias-do you know what it is?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 10:30PM
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GreenzGirl

The glossy leaf plant seem to be Vinca/ Periwinkle. One of my fave to fill in space. I may be wrong though.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 10:38PM
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rainbow_catz

I planted my zinnias on 12 sept 2013 indoor, now they are 5 cm tall, but I notice that their stems are still very fragile.
Should I move them outdoor or still indoor until they develop leaves?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 9:02PM
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Greenm04

is it too late to plant seeds this year? Its July 13, 2014.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 9:58PM
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