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Pinching zinnias - subsequent growth process

Posted by lizzie_nh NH - 5a / 4b (My Page) on
Sun, May 22, 11 at 15:53

I know there have been posts on this before, but I am looking for a bit more detail. I grew a bunch of "Cut and Come Again" zinnias from seed, hoping to get earlier blooms (and prolong the bloom season) since I live on the edge of zones 5a and 4b. Maybe that was unnecessary and any that I plant directly outside (once we actually finally get consistently warm temps!) will surpass the indoor seedlings in growth.

In anyway, I am looking to keep several of these plants lower and bushier, for pots rather than for cutting. I pinched some of them after they got a fourth set of leaves. What can I expect to see now, growth-wise? I just keep reading that this will make them "bushy." How, exactly, will they grow? Will the stem, which so far has been tall and non-branching, with pairs of leave growing in at alternating orientations, now branch? So far nothing is happening.


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RE: Pinching zinnias - subsequent growth process

Keep an eye on the spot on the stem where the leaves are attached. You will soon see new growth coming out from the base of the first set of leaves just under where you pinched. Each of these growths will make a new stalk that will push out and away from the main stem. If you pinch those new stalks again after they make a couple of sets of leaves, they will bush out again in the same manner. (And so on and so on)

As far north as you are, I should think you were wise to start your seeds indoors. If you can possibly give them sunlight and warm (80 degrees) temps, they will give you a big headstart. I think it is far less painful to do the pinching while the plants are still indoors....outside, it kills me. (But I do it anyway.) Also, to get the most of your time, give them a liquid fertilizer regularly. Fish emulsion will be their favorite, IF you can stand the smell.

At some point, you will want to stop pinching so that the plants can set blooms. I have my doubts about your keeping the plants lower in height, but you will definitely have fuller plants with far more blooms by pinching.


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RE: Pinching zinnias - subsequent growth process

Thanks for the info.! This is my first year growing zinnias, and my primary goal is to replicate a large pot of (what I identified as) "cut and come again" zinnias I received as a gift last year. The 14" pot was jam-packed with zinnias. I'm not sure how tall they were overall, but they were definitely lower than the max. height they can reach. Potted and in bloom, they sort of resembled a multi-color version of potted "hardy mums". In the fall I reused the pot for mums, and overall the scale was about the same.

I'm not sure where my zinnia gift came from, and I haven't seen potted zinnias available anywhere, otherwise I might not even bother to grow them myself and would just buy another pot.


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RE: Pinching zinnias - subsequent growth process

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, May 22, 11 at 23:22

Lizzie,

Pinched zinnias send out side branches as DonnaBaskets described. Cut and Come Again may not be the best zinnia variety for your 14-inch pot, because they were bred to be used as cut flowers, and they have somewhat long stems and the plant height is about 27 inches tall -- a little tall for a 14-inch pot. There are shorter strains of zinnias that are meant to be bedding plants, so they have shorter stems and hence more compact plants. One such variety is Magellan zinnias.

Dreamland is another compact variety. If you don't mind smaller flowers, the Zinnita zinnias make very compact plants.

ZM
(Not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)


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RE: Pinching zinnias - subsequent growth process

Thanks for the info. zenman - I "identified" the cut and come again zinnias only based on an image search (knowing nothing about zinnias.) The cut and come again do seem to look exactly like the ones that were in my original pot, but maybe not. My pot is 14" in diameter and about 10" tall. My gift pot was filled maybe a foot or higher (above the rim) with zinnias. Well, I'll see how these go, and if they don't turn out properly, I'll have to try to find another potted plant at a garden center, and try your compact varieties next year.

I wanted to say - "wow!" to the pinching. My plants are "bushing out" better than I had expected them to. I think I misunderstood what donnabaskets wrote and thought that the only new growth would be in the very first set of leaves below where I pinched. Instead, I'm seeing new leaves springing up on two sets of leaves. (I pinched down to two true sets of leaves... read the first set is not a true set... and there are new leaf sets growing out of each of those true sets. This may get bushy after all.

Thanks everyone for your info!


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RE: Pinching zinnias - subsequent growth process

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Sun, May 29, 11 at 11:13

Lizzie,

"My plants are "bushing out" better than I had expected them to...I'm seeing new leaves springing up on two sets of leaves."

It can get even better than that. Zinnias can potentially send out a new branch at the base of every true leaf pair, and the paired leaves on those branches can potentially do the same thing. And so on. Persistent pinching can create very bushy zinnia plants. I am always so impatient to see what the new bloom will look like that I don't do nearly as much pinching as I should.

ZM


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