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Harvesting Zinnias

Harvesting Zinnias
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Zinnia

harvest season: June-October
vase life: 1-2 weeks

There's nothing that can brighten a room quite like a vaseful of colorful zinnias. With their bold colors and large full round flowers, they well deserve their popularity as a garden flower and cut flower. Despite their wonderful cut flower qualities and their perennial popularity, wholesalers and mass market distributors have generally been unsuccessful shipping, storing and handling zinnias, so they remain a distinctly seasonal and local cut flower.

Zinnias are one of the few flowers that we still direct seed in the field rather than transplanting. They germinate and grow quickly, even under difficult conditions, and unlike sunflowers, the seeds and seedlings aren't eaten by birds. We plant zinnias every other week from the beginning of April until late July to maintain a steady supply of high quality flowers throughout the season.

The large flat flowers of zinnias are a favorite landing pad for butterflies. One of the fringe benefits of being a zinnia grower is the opportunity to work in a thick cloud of butterflies. Many other pollinators including hummingbirds, bees, wasps, flies, and other insects thrive in our zinnias, as well as the insects and spiders that prey on them. Together with birds, frogs, toads, and a myriad of other creatures, they form a rich and vital ecosystem amongst our flower beds.

Although zinnias can be very long-lasting cut flowers, they are susceptible to rapid decline from bacteria invading their stems. With zinnias, particular care should be taken to keep your water and vases clean. Start with clean water in a clean vase. Change the water frequently, before it becomes cloudy, and remove any funky flowers before they have the chance to foul the water. If you use a floral preservative, read the directions and be certain to mix it in the right proportions. Improperly mixed preservative can do more harm than good.

Red Zinnias

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