How to Take Care of a Zinnia Plant

how to take care of a zinnia plant

Zinnia plants are long-stemmed flowers that come in various shapes, sizes, and vibrant colors. They are annual, meaning they only grow once and need replanting each season. The flowers can be cut and turned into beautiful arrangements or bouquets as well.


Before you rush out there to buy and grow these beautiful plants, you will need to know how to take care of these beautiful flowers so that they do not end up dying. Keep reading for all the essential things you need to know to keep your zinnia flowers happy and healthy.


Other Names:

  • Zinnia elegans
  • Zinnia violacea


What are the Different Types of Zinnias?

what are the different types of zinnias

There are hundreds of types of Zinnias out there with different shapes, sizes, and colors. Most varieties (cultivars) originate from a variety found in Mexico, called the Zinnia elegans. However, hundreds of crossbreeds exist today.


Zinnia flowers come in three main shapes: single, semidouble, and double. Each type has a different number of rows of petals. They are also classified by having a prominent center or not. Other popular shapes include beehive, button, and cactus.


Dwarf zinnias are lighter than other zinnias, so you don’t have to worry about them growing tall and tipping over in your home. Other good indoor varieties include Dreamland Mix, Zahara Starlight Rose, Star Starbright, and Thumbelina mix. Each of these varieties is great for indoor potting in different ways, and if handled and treated with care, will result in some great zinnia flowers.


What Soil Works Best for Zinnias?

standard potting soil for zinnias

Zinnias do well with a standard potting mix that is rich in nutrients. Zinnias do best with a soil mix with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They should do well with most potting soils as long as they are in a container with good drainage and their roots do not become waterlogged.


How Much Sun Do Zinnias Need?

Zinnias need at least six hours of full sunlight every day to thrive. Without the proper sunlight, they will put out fewer and smaller flowers. They will also be more susceptible to disease. When a zinnia does not get enough sun, the leaves will wilt, fall off, and die over time.


What Temperature Works Best for Zinnias?

Zinnias grow best at temperatures ranging between 74- and 84-degrees Fahrenheit. They don’t function well in temperatures below 60-degrees Fahrenheit and are not frost-resistant. They also do not do well in extreme heat and require extra water in hot climates.


Keep your zinnia pot in a warm, temperature-controlled area of the home. Avoid house areas with extreme temperatures, such as near heating vents, hot sun, cool drafts, or air conditioning.


If planting your zinnias outside, make sure to plant the zinnia seeds before the first frost date of the year, which would be six weeks before winter. They usually bloom between mid-summer and the first frost.


Do Zinnias Enjoy Humidity?

Zinnias do not like scorching, humid environments. They also do not do well when their roots become waterlogged. However, they are drought-resistant and do better than other plants in dry climates.


Place your zinnias in a dry area of the home and avoid humid rooms like the bathroom or kitchen. Also, do not place them near a humidifier.


How Often Should You Water a Zinnia Plant?

Zinnias do best with moist but not wet soil. Before watering, check the soil’s moisture level by sticking your finger in the ground. If your finger feels wet, you won’t need to water anymore.


If the soil feels dry, water zinnias once every five to seven days with at least an inch of water each time. Watering with an inch of water will lead to your plant having strong roots, which will help your plant grow.


Young plants will need watering more often than older plants. Zinnias need less water later as they mature in their life cycle. The plant becomes more drought tolerant as it grows flowers.


How Big do Zinnias Grow to Typically?

how big do zinnias grow to typically

Zinnias grow to be of different sizes depending on the variety. Some outdoor plants can grow as much as 8 feet tall. Dwarf varieties only grow to a height of 6 inches or 1 foot.


Most Common Bugs

Zinnias can get infested with aphids, spider mites, and wwighiteflies. If this happens, wash the leaves of your plant with insecticidal soap. If growing zinnias outdoors, they can also attract pollinators and beneficial bugs like honeybees and ladybugs.


Most Common Diseases

Zinnias can suffer from powdery mildew. Mildew is most common in moist, foggy areas such as coastal environments or bathrooms. Place your indoor zinnia in a place in your house with low humidity and good air circulation. Otherwise, your plant may end up getting powdery mildew as a result.


Zinnias can also suffer from a fungal infection called Alternaria blight. The distinguishing feature of Alternaria blight is dark reddish-brown spots with gray centers. These spots can spread and kill the leaves — eventually killing the entire plant. Dispose of the affected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide.


How Often Should You Repot a Zinnia?

Zinnias are annuals, so you should not need to repot them. However, if you are starting zinnias indoors from seeds, you may wish to move the seedlings to larger pots as they grow.


Can You Harvest Zinnias?

Most varieties of zinnias are “cut-and-come-again” flowers, meaning that they will grow more flower stems after you cut off a flower. This makes them a very rewarding plant that will produce beautiful flowers for many months.


Before you take a cutting, perform “the wiggle test.” Grab the stem several inches below the flower and gently wiggle it. If the stem bends easily, it is not ready to be cut. If it stays firm, it is ready to be cut. Use sharp, clean scissors or garden shears to harvest the bloom and wait for more to grow!


Can you use Coffee Grounds on Zinnia Plants?

Zinnias don’t like their coffee too strong. Dilute the coffee grounds with 3/4 of water and 1/4 of coffee. Use coffee grounds no more than once per week to keep the plant from being overexposed to coffee grounds. You can use the diluted coffee mixture as an alternative to plain water when you usually water your plant.


Be sure to only use cold, black coffee grounds on the plant. Any sugar or other additives can easily result in bugs like spider mites and aphids appearing on the plant. These bugs will cause various issues for the plant and can lead to disease or death.


Check out the coffee grounds for plants guide to learn more about this strategy.


Conclusion: How to Take Care of a Zinnia Plant

The Zinnia Flower is a beautiful annual flower with many different varieties and choices. Now that you know more about the existing types and how to take care of the plant, you should be good to start planting indoor zinnia plants. Enjoy the pop of color it brings to your home!


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