Get More Blooms from Your Zinnia Plants
I can get tons of blooms from just one zinnia plant. I’ll harvest from it regularly and bring the blooms indoors to enjoy as cut flowers. Let's look at how to maximize the number of blooms a single plant will give you.
How to Harvest Blooms from Your Zinnia Plant
Having several healthy zinnia plants means you could be getting a fresh cut-flower harvest every five to six days. The best times to harvest are in the early morning or the evening.
Use a clean pair of pruners or scissors to cut the stem at an angle right above a leaf node. Avoid cutting all the way at the base of the plant because you'll remove future blooms. Your goal with each cut is to encourage the plant to split into two new stems that each produce new blooms.
Try not to squeeze the main stem too hard while you work because you could cut off the plant's system of getting water to the flowers. Remove the lower sets of leaves to prevent them from growing mold later. Cutting the stems at an angle helps the flowers last longer once cut, as does changing their water every couple of days.
I like to bring a vase of fresh water for longer stems and a jar for shorter stems out to the garden with me, as zinnias will start to wilt a bit while they're waiting for you to finish up. Put the stems straight into the water, and get them inside out of the heat as soon as possible.
Tips to Maximize Your Zinnia Blooms
Tip #1 to Maximize Zinnia Blooms: Grow your own zinnia from seed
Plants you buy from hardware stores have likely been sprayed with gallons of Miracle-Gro or synthetic fertilizers so that they're blooming when you see them. Not only are these sprays harmful to bees and butterflies, their sudden absence will also stress out the plant when you take it home. Those beautiful blooms will suddenly be like, "Wait, where's my Miracle-Gro?" and the plant will have a difficult time thriving and blooming in your garden space.
If you want to buy starter plants, be intentional about what you buy for your garden. Purchase only organically grown plants from a great, local source.
You'll find, however, that plants started by seed in optimal conditions will often catch up to starter plants purchased from a store. Again, prioritize seeds from a reliable source so you're not growing something that will be harmful to our pollinators.
Overall, you'll see more flower production from plants you start yourself from seed because your plants will have grown up in the very space where they'll bloom and flourish.
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Tip #2 to Maximize Zinnia Blooms: Give your zinnias plenty of space
Give your plants room to spread out. If you notice seedlings look a little overcrowded, consider thinning or delicately replanting some to ensure each plant has access to plenty of airflow.
I like to put shorter zinnia varieties on the outside of my raised beds, where they have plenty of space away from my large and lengthy plants like tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers. I give taller zinnia varieties their own little patch in my pollinator garden.
Tip #3 to Maximize Zinnia Blooms: Pinch back your first set of flowers
For your first set of flowers from each plant, you'll want to do something called pinching them back. Before the flower fully opens, you'll cut right above a leaf node (where two leaves grow directly opposite from each other) with a clean pair of pruners or scissors. I prefer using needle nose pruners, which allow you to get right to spot on the stem where you want to cut.
Pinching your flowers back encourages the plant to branch out and produce more blooms. Zinnias are cut-and-come-again plants, so the more you cut from them, the more they'll produce for you.
Tip #4 to Maximize Zinnia Blooms: Cut your zinnia blooms frequently
It might sound counterintuitive, but you'll get more blooms from each plant the more you harvest.
Regularly harvesting from your zinnias prevents spent blooms from lingering on the plant and consuming too many of its resources. Should you see a dead or dying flower on your plant, you'll need to do what's called deadheading, which simply means to cut the stem containing the spent flower above a leaf node. This will refocus the plant's energy on producing new flowers instead of going to seed.
Where to Put Zinnias in Your Kitchen Garden
I love to put flowers on the edges and corners of my raised beds. It brings pollinators, and it adds some season-long beauty. Even as plants rise and fall inside the beds, I just love the permanence the flowers provide. So if you haven't done it before, try adding a few zinnia seeds or mature plants to the corners of your raised beds—I promise you're going to love it.
So, just how many blooms can you get from a zinnia plant?
By following these tips to maximize your blooms, for every 10 or so blooms that you remove from your plant, you'll see about 10 or so more waiting to bloom. Isn't that amazing?
So if you didn't believe me before, please believe me now. There are so many flowers you can get from just one plant and so much simple joy you can get from adding these to your kitchen garden.
Thanks so much for making the garden an ordinary part of everyday life once again!
Join Gardenary 365 to take our Cut Flower Gardens course. In this online course, you will learn how to grow, harvest, and arrange cut flowers. You'll also have access to our complete Gardenary course library inside 365.