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Zinnia growing

enceladusenceladus Posts: 27
Hi all,

I've been growing zinnias for the first time this year and I'm having real trouble. They seem to keep dying off when they are about an inch tall. Not sure if it's to do with the temperature difference from being brought in and out of the house (I don't have a greenhouse and we've had a cold spring), or overwatering (lots of rain recently when they are out). Any tips from folk who have success with zinnias would be much appreciated!

I also watched a programme Carol Klein made and I was astonished to see her grow a load of zinnias in a seed tray and then tease them all out to pot them on. I feel like if I did that they would die from the shock! I do have a handful of seedlings that seem to be strong but I've no idea if they will keel over too.

Thanks :)


  • Chris-P-BaconChris-P-Bacon Posts: 943
    Zinnias like constant warm temps, lots of light and free draining soil which isn't too rich. In more northern regions particularly, sowing and planting too early is probably unwise. Not too late to sow again.
  • enceladusenceladus Posts: 27
    Thanks, Chris. Really helpful. I did just sow more the other day so hopefully I get some flowers out of all this!
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,409
    I'm growing them for the first time this year too, but I kept mine indoors, on a south facing windowsill, turned everyday, until they were about 6" tall.
    I moved them to the greenhouse when I was sure overnight temperatures would not kill them and they are still ok, though it has been awful weather, too cold and dark days with no sun, so they have had little encouragement to grow much more. They come from Mexico, and need sun and warmth to do well and not heavy rainfall.
    I think you are expecting far too much of your tiny plants and need to be more patient and show them some care if you want to succeed.
    I don't know where you live, but I knew it would be risky growing them here at all, but as I had a packet of free seed  I gave them a go this year, in case we had a repeat of the warmth from last year. No such luck, but they are hanging on in there and so shall I :)

  • enceladusenceladus Posts: 27
    Thanks for talking about your experience, Buttercupdays. Sounds like you're doing well!

    I wouldn't say I'm expecting far too much - I was only after some helpful tips as a novice, and I am trying my best in caring for them. From your reflections I think my best bet would be to stop ferrying them about too much as the regular shift in temps. from warm inside to cold outside is probably upsetting them. So I shall keep them inside under grow lights and hope for the best :)
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,409
    Mine are still i the greenhouse, potted individually, have no idea when/if they will get outside, not even safe here to start hardening off yet!
  • All of you doing better than me , I'm going to have to start again ( again!) . Last ditch re-attempt at these and chabaud carnations from seed , otherwise I'll go back to marigolds, nasturtiums and snapdragons which I do seem able to keep alive!
    Kindness is always the right choice.
  • SueAtooSueAtoo Posts: 328
    I sowed zinnia and cosmos indoors on 2nd May in individual modules and moved them out to an unheated greenhouse a couple of weeks later. They're doing nicely about 4" tall.
    East Dorset, new (to me) rather neglected garden.
  • I sowed my zinnias April 1st and have been growing them indoors. Not all of them are thriving, I must admit. But about 70% of them have turned out ok. I have just started to harden them off and having read previous posts I just need to hope for the best! 
  • newbie77newbie77 Posts: 1,727
    I always sow and grow zinnias outside. I just sow late after the frost risk is gone and remember to protect from slugs/snails. They grow fast and flower for a long time. 
    South West London
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