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Colourful Zinnias

Zinnias are popular border plants and good for cutting

Zinnias are popular border plants and good for cutting

 

 

 

For brilliant colour in the hottest, sunniest part of the garden, zinnias are ideal.

Zinnias are available in almost every colour shade except the blues, and in a range of sizes from tiny dwarf plants with charming miniature flowers to large plants with ruffled and curly petals (yes, the hybridists have been very busy, much to the advantage of this popular flower).

Zinnias are best used in massed garden displays. Dwarf forms grow to 20cm in height while large forms can reach 70cm or more. They prefer full sun with protection from very strong wind. They are best grown in warm or tropical areas but may not do well at the coast as they are prone to mildew in humid or damp environments.

Give them fairly rich soil and plenty of water. F1 hybrids are also available so you should consult a good seed catalogue before making your selection. They are best sown where they are to grow, but they can be sown in trays. They flower well throughout the summer but not for long. Try sowing seed every three weeks (from early spring in tropical areas and in warm zones wait until later in spring) and plant out in groups in the mixed border. Germination is from three to five days.  Space large varieties 35cm apart and dwarf varieties 10cm to 15cm apart.  In well prepared soil, plants should need little extra fertiliser, but complete plant food may be applied at monthly intervals once the plants are growing well.

The flowers are good for cutting and last well in water.