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  Zinnia – The Great Flower of Summer
  July 23rd, 2005

Plant Now for Fast Summer Long Color

Looking to add some last minute color to the garden?

Zinnias are truly wonderful annuals for adding color to massed plantings, landscape borders or containers. And there’s lots of variety: tall plants or short plants, small or large flowers, and many colors to choose from. Why not plant a few rows to use as cut flowers in the home?

Here are some hints to keep zinnias happy in the landscape:

Deadhead (remove) faded flowers – especially when growing the old-fashioned types.

Zinnias like rich, well drained soil, even though they are very tolerant of average to slightly poor soils. Improving your soil quality will produce much healthier plants and flowers, so amend soil with a good planting mix.

Afraid of zinnias because of powdery mildew on the leaves? Newer varieties, like the Profusion series, do not have the problems with powdery mildew that the older varieties have. One advantage of planting now is the temperatures have risen and the mildew is typically not a problem from now on.

If you grow the old-fashioned types, or mildew does hunt you down, here are some quick tips for avoiding powdery mildew problems: space plants with enough distance to allow for adequate air circulation; avoid stagnant air patches. It’s always best to keep the foliage as dry as possible because powdery mildew depends on moisture to spread. So when you water, use a soaker hose to keep the water at ground level. Otherwise, water early in the day so the foliage dries before evening. Leaves that are affected by powdery mildew can be removed and tossed. A fungicide can be used for more severe cases. Remember to always read the label first.

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