Cut and Come Again Zinnia Seeds - For Sowing Indoors - January 2024

I've said it before:  I'm a foliage gardener.  I'm most comfortable talking about, working on, planting foliage plants.  I'm also a shade gardener, so that's (kinda) why I'm a foliage gardener.  Last Fall, I began to address a significant garden deficit:  conifers.  Via CSCF. Conifers Should Come First.  Those conifers came in a flurry in the late Fall. But, so too, did something else:  flowers.  I planted some new (to me) perennial flowers: Midnight Masquerade Pentsemon, a Pow Wow Wildberry Echinacea and some May Night Salvias - all in the IB2DWs extended bed.  I also tucked in a pair of Stachys monieri Hummelos (Betony) on the other side of the driveway that has upright, purple flowers.  

In my 2023 recap post, I included a mixed list of lessons learned/things to think about going forward and included on that list:  plant more flowers.   Get out of my comfort zone and think about adding flowers to a combo bed and cut garden.  

I started the 2024 season out strong with an order from Longfield for a handful of Dahlia tubers right at the end of 2023.  Those dahlias (including the Melina Fluer, which I am most excited about) will ship in Spring and I'll get them planted in a couple of spot (thinking some IB2DWs and some by the Disneyland Roses that get full sun).   But, I also wanted to keep going with the successes that I had last year - and that was mostly with three flowers:  Disneyland Roses, Japanese Anemones and some Zinnias that we bought at Northwind.   I also really liked the container combination of Euphorbia and Zinnias that I sort-of backed into (by accident), but saw repeated at the Morton Arboretum

I was at the hardware store recently and came across the seed-starting section where they had a variety of seeds (flowers and vegetables and herbs) as well as a wide-assortment of mediums and trays to get your seeds started before the last Frost.  

The seed packets that jumped out to me were the Zinnias.  And while there were a number of varieties, after reading the backs of them, I decided to take the seed-sowing plunge and grabbed these Cut and Come Again Mixed Colors Zinnia Seeds from Burpee.  See below for my two packets of Zinnia Seeds:

Cut and Come Again Zinnias - Seed Packet

The listing from Burpee tells the story of these Zinnias:

Cut & Come Again Mix has long-stemmed flowers 2 1/2" across in a blend of pink, bright scarlet, yellow, salmon, white and more. The more you cut, the more they bloom, and they keep blooming from midsummer until frost. Heat-loving and very easy to grow. Great for cutting as well as in the garden.

They like being cut.  That's great.  And they are 'very easy to grow'.  Even better.   They are what I'm PRETTY SURE we had last year.  The listing also includes this photo of a mixed arrangement:

Cut and Come Again Zinnias - Mixed Arrangement
Source.  Cut and Come Again Zinnias - Mixed Color Arrangement.  

I haven't grown from seed, really....ever.  At least successfully.  Sure, I've tried.  I once had a little greenhouse to start and then harden-off seedlings.  Didn't work.   I've even tried larger purple Zinnias (all the way back in 2011) and at the height of COVID in Spring 2020, I tried these VERY SAME seeds - Cut and Come Again Zinnias.  

My seedlings never work.  There's always a few problems including:  I plant too many seeds and don't thin them.  I always get germination.  But...then it goes downhill.  I leave the top on too long and they get moldy.  My watering is too aggressive.  They get way, way, way too leggy.  And, then I just give up.  

But this year, I'm going to give-it-a-go once again.   But, I'll try a few different techniques including using seed pots instead of a tray, starter medium instead of coir and I'm going to try to figure out how to (properly) use a grow light at the right height to keep them from getting (I think) leggy.  

Like a lot of things in the garden, the waiting is the hardest part.  Buying seeds in early January is just fine.  But sowing them?  Not yet.  Burpee says end of February/early March at the soonest and get them outside sometime in May.  

When to start Zinnia seeds indoors - Sowing Zinnias from Seed


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