If you want a riot of color in garden beds and bouquets, grow zinnias! They're one of the easiest flowers to grow, too. Low-growing varieties are perfect for the front of the border and in containers; tall varieties are ideal for a cutting garden. Wherever you decide to grow them, just be sure to include a few zinnias in your garden.
1. Prepare. Loosen soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches using a shovel or tiller. Mix in some compost or slow-release fertilizer to provide plants with nutrients. Then rake the soil smooth, removing any large clumps and rocks.
2. Plant. Sow zinnia seeds about a quarter-inch deep and 6 inches apart. Either poke a hole with your finger and place the seed in the hole, or use a hoe to create a shallow furrow. Cover seed with soil and press gently.
3. Grow. Water soil to keep it moist, and pull weeds that sprout nearby. Once seedlings are a few inches tall, thin them by removing extra plants so the remaining ones are about a foot apart. Apply organic mulch, like bark chips, to control weeds and conserve soil moisture, keeping the mulch an inch or two from stems.
4. Enjoy. Sit back and enjoy the rainbow of color in your garden, or harvest cut flowers. A bouquet of zinnias is sure to brighten your day, and frequent harvesting ensures a summer-long supply of blooms.
AT A GLANCE
Exposure: Full sun
Planting time: After last spring frost
Planting depth: 1/4 inch deep
Spacing in row: 6 inches apart; thin to 1 foot apart.
Time to flower : 45 to 70 days, depending on variety.
Zinnias grow well in containers.
Zinnias are great for bouquets.