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Too Late to Direct Sow Zinnias?

Posted by mamashakesit Oregon 8 (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 4, 10 at 12:23

I've tried to direct sow zinnia seeds twice already. The first time, I didn't cover them (at the advice of someone else) and I think they dried up and blew away. The second time, I did cover them slightly (more advice from someone else) and I started to see a few pop up, but they are gone now! It's been cold and rainy here and the bugs have been chewing up my dahlias, so I'm thinking maybe not enough sun and bugs are the culprit? Perhaps it is my seeds? I got deadheads from my neighbor last fall and they stayed in the shed most of the winter.

I did zinnias for the first time last year and really enjoyed them, but didn't really know how to care for them. My neighbor gave me a few tips to make them better and I'd really like to do them again this year!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Too Late to Direct Sow Zinnias?

I am not familiar with oregon climate but I would think about it like this.

"How long does it take for a zinnia to bloom?? How much longer do you have of a growing season?? When does your first frost take place??"

If there is plenty of time between the first bloom and frost, I would say go ahead and grow it. If there is not much time between first bloom and first frost, I would say save it till next year.

RE: Too Late to Direct Sow Zinnias?ps

Now if it were a perennial that would make a world of difference lots of perennials take 2 years to bloom. So if you were dealing with a perennial 2 year bloomer I would say grow it and next spring you will have blooms. Also biennials same theory.

RE: Too Late to Direct Sow Zinnias?

I think last year, I had a garden nearly all the way through October. Doing some Googling, it looks like first frost generally happens in October or November. This is only my 2nd summer here. As for zinnia bloom time...????

I will have them planted in a location that gets some southern sun, but mostly hot afternoon sun from the west, with generally very hot dry conditions, in a 2nd year garden that has somewhat rocky, clay-like, poor soil...if that makes a difference? I'm somewhat of a novice gardener ;o)

RE: Too Late to Direct Sow Zinnias?

If you are direct sowing them in that climate, I would mulch them after you plant, so they don't dry out while germinating. You will have to give them a watering almost every day for the same reason. About 4 days later check to see if they're up and move the mulch so it's around the plant.

If you have clay soil working in some organic matter or better soil wouldn't hurt. When clay dries it becomes almost like cement. Even coarse sand--not the fine beach variety but something of the pea vegetable size, will help to keep the particles of clay apart so they don't form a soild clump that no root can get through.

RE: Too Late to Direct Sow Zinnias?

I have that same type of clay soil and to get seeds growing in it is sometimes difficult especially in full sun. If the mulching trick suggestion doesn't work you can always ammend your soil with maybe some topsoil or even potting soil. What I have to do is actually grow my plants in my make shift growing area that I incorporated from a few winter sowers. It consist of a pan and water bottles I cut my water bottles in half and on the bottom for vents and add soil and seeds I water by just putting water in the pan. Granted it is not direct sowing but I seem to have my best luck with either growing my seeds this way or in my afternoon shade beds then transplanting. Trying to keep up with watering a seedling in full sun is not fun and they need the moisture or they will not grow.

By the way I think from your first frost date you should have plenty of time to grow and collect seeds from your plant before your frost hits.

RE: Too Late to Direct Sow Zinnias?

I did a lot of winter sowing this winter, and now as I am emptying milk jugs I have been re sowing annauls back into them. I dont fasten the lids down, just let them drape over on their own, and it still allows plenty of air movement, but keeps them from drying out too much, oh, they are also in an area with almost no direct sun, but plenty of light so they dont over heat. Then when they have their first set of true leaves, transplant.Zinnias grow pretty quick. Its been working well for me.

RE: Too Late to Direct Sow Zinnias?

I grow lots of these and I believe most zinnias take about 90 days from planting to bloom, so you should have them by September. I have a few hundred zinnia plants set out in the garden, but I will be direct sowing some more for fall use. Keep the soil moist and they should be up in three or four days, as long as your weather isn't too cool.


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