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When to Pinch Zinnias

March 23 2011 at 7:19 PM
Ken  (Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

They are getting their 4th pair of leaves, I am guessing it is time to pinch them back. Should I pinch them back by two pairs, leaving the original two plus the 3rd & 4th?

Thanks,

Ken

Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:C)

 
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Ward
(Login WardDa)
Hummingbird Member 2005

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 23 2011, 7:43 PM 

How are you growing your seedlings Ken? Are they in individual pots or in small cells. If they are in the later you might not want to pinch any time some. If you make them bushier the most vigorous might take over and you would have less plants. It is really terribly early to start zinnias. A lot of us have done it, so you have good company. They are the last thing I start for the summer garden and most years they are planted outside in seedling rows to be transplanted toward the beginning of June. It saves indoor space and the plants are sturdier.

 
 
Ken
(Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 23 2011, 8:05 PM 

Yea Ward, the Zinnia's were already planted when you posted to my other thread and I could not get myself to dump them. I wish I had. :c( Next year I will plant them outdoors in a protected area.

They are in flats with individual cells, though I am thinking of moving them to 3 inch pots. The leaf pairs are 5 across and covering the other cells. I pulled one out of the cell and the roots are beginning to wind around the edges. I am thinking that the 3 inch pots won't be enought for long. :c(

I planted Petunia's too and looking at the seed package it states 120 days to flower. So I messed up on a lot of places. :c(

Next year will be better.

Ken

Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:C)

 
 

(Login WardDa)
Hummingbird Member 2005

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 23 2011, 8:17 PM 

You can probably nurse them along. Don't feed them and only water only as needed. Putting them in a coldish area might help too. Lots of us have kept them going when we started them too early. If you have more seed you might interplant it with seedlings at planting time. Zinnias get kind of old looking as the season progresses and the younger plants would look better in late summer and fall.

What Zinnia did you plant?

I am thinking about a big zinnia year because I don't seem to have seeds for a couple of other butterfly plant I usually grow. My neighbor grow out the Lilliput series last year and we collected seed from the semi-doubles in the orange range. There is also a collected set of tall orange shade cactus zinnia. They're fine for butterflies and it is nice to have something big and bold blooming among all the small hummingbird flowers.

 
 
Ken
(Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 23 2011, 8:35 PM 

I bought Zinia Red Kings and Zinia Purity. No latin names on these Burpee packages.

Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:C)

 
 


(Login seafire1)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 23 2011, 8:51 PM 

Ken,


Don't feel bad at all, I've been growing from seed for about 5 years now and I generally sow some seeds earlier than I should have. Ward started the seed sowing thread to help those of us that are newbies, but my gardening knowledge is mostly from trial and lots of error. It takes several years of making the same mistakes over again before I say "well Duh" why do I expect different results when I make the same mistakes.

I started Min Labota on 2/28 and they are 3 inches high. These can actually be sown directly outdoors in May also and get the same results, so why do I do it every year?? Well, in my defense I love vines and this one is so pretty as it grows and I love to watch its progress.

Ward is a very seasoned gardener,alot can be learned from the old timers.[linked image] [linked image]

Pam
Matawan,NJ 6B
[linked image]


Image hosting by TinyPic

 
 

(Login Yodlei44)
Bug Moderator

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 23 2011, 9:18 PM 

I commend you, Ken. I've tried Zinnias before & they seem to die very easily from dampening off. I have several solid colors to direct sow this year. I'm going to plant all 1 color in big bunches for a WOW factor. I've always bought a few Zowie's the past couple of years & both Hummers & Butterflies use them.

Ward...what B-Fly seeds are you looking for?

The annual Coreopsis tinctoria 'Dwarf Red' aka Red Plains Coreopsis was very fast & easy to sow & gave quite a punch at the front of a border as they only get about 6" tall. A few came up from seed the following year also. I bought a bunch of these to direct sow as well.

[IMG][linked image][/IMG]

Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5

[linked image]

 
 
Ken
(Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 23 2011, 10:23 PM 

Hi Joni,

I can't be afraid of something I have no idea about. LOL

I think I will put a fan down there as Pam suggested. I need to water less too. I did not sterilize the seed mix that I got. He's hoping the dampening stays away!

I really appreciate all the suggestions!

Ken

Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:C)

 
 
Ken
(Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 23 2011, 11:14 PM 

Well... took a few photos with my cell phone, did not come out that great, but here are a few photos of what I have growing at the moment,

Zinnia's:
[linked image]

Viola's:
[linked image]

Canna's:
[linked image]

If you look carefully at the canna's you will see green forming on the parimeter of the pots. I read that when it comes to Canna's you can never be too wet, I guess I need to water a little less.

Ken

Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:C)

 
 


(Login Celtguy)
Brugmansia Moderator - Emeritus

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 24 2011, 2:46 AM 

I'm really glad this zinnia discussion happened just now. Last night I nearly started some Cut-And-Come-Again zinnias under my lights. I decided it might be a little early, especially here in the PNW where the soil & air temps stay cool for so long. If I get my greenhouse put together in a timely manner, I'll just start some in cell packs out there in a month or so.

Somewhere around here I have some Profusion zinnia seeds harvested in Texas...they got a lot of BF use down there.

Patrick
USDA Zone 8b
Heat Zone 3
Sunset Zone 5
SeaTac, WA...one cool place
[linked image]

 
 

(Login WardDa)
Hummingbird Member 2005

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 24 2011, 6:44 AM 

Joni, I failed to collect Globe Amaranth seeds. It isn't a super butterfly plant but I like it.

 
 


(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 24 2011, 7:05 AM 


For what it is worth, it has always been my exsperience that Zinnias don't like being put out until the soil is warm. Since I don't have a basement or large area to sow seeds, I either wait until the air starts to warm outside or buy starter plants.
They do grow quickly once they start so when I do my own seed it is the last one sown.

Also with petunias, I just toss some in a hanging basket when it start to warm up and they shoot up in the pot and they are good to go right where they are.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a/6b
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
[linked image]

 
 
Ward
(Login WardDa)
Hummingbird Member 2005

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 24 2011, 8:30 PM 

The results of ignorance is probably the best teacher. Last Saturday I taught myself how to extract seed from Leonotis nepetifolia. After trial and error it turned out the best way to get the seeds was to tap seedheads on the edge of a large bowl, the seeds just fall out. They weren't particularly large, Salvia splendens sized and there were a lot of them. So far so good. I thought to myself, who knows if these will even germinate or how long that will take. So they all were planted and today, 5 days later they are all coming up. There could be hundreds. Now the question is, what to do with them all - compost them, a mass planting at the park, what? Since I've only grown them for one year I don't know if they are invasive or if deer will eat them. The latter I expect not, but the former is a much more pressing question.

 
 

(Login Yodlei44)
Bug Moderator

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 24 2011, 9:07 PM 

Ward...that is one I can help with. I've seen it but haven't grown it.

I think Tithonia is falling into this same category as I've started them twice already & got 1 seedling potted. The first loss was blamed on the seedling mix but tried potting mix & same thing. They come up nice but die within 2-3 days. I have a few late ones that are just peeking out that I'm going to get out of there cells & pot up. The dome is still on since there are seeds that haven't germinated yet so I don't think they are liking the moisture either.

Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5

[linked image]

 
 


(Login seafire1)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 24 2011, 9:35 PM 

Ken,

I think allowing lots of water for Cannas is meant for AFTER they are in the ground. I may be wrong but I don't think what you read was intended for seedlings.

Anybody else with canna experience?

Pam
Matawan,NJ 6B
[linked image]


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(Login Yodlei44)
Bug Moderator

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 24 2011, 10:24 PM 

I heard same thing, Ken. I've heard of people putting them in bogs & I've seen 'Tropicana' potted, in ground & in a pond. They are also very forgiving as I had one I didn't water for a long time. Although the leave tips browned, it bounced right back. Since mine are doing so well, I might tries a Species Red or Costa Rican Red in a tub with my pond plants & see what happens.

Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5

[linked image]

 
 

(Login LindaSkyview)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 25 2011, 12:25 PM 

Um...er... I've been following this discussion avidly, but don't think anyone has actually answered Ken's original question: when and how much to pinch zinnias? Since I have several packets of zinnia seeds left over which I'd like to try (directly sown after it warms up), I'd like to know the answer, too. Any other plants you'd recommend pinching back, also? I know chrysanthemums get very rangy/leggy without doing that at least once, and I read that twice is even better for them.

LindaSkyview
Western NC mountains
Zone 6b - Sunset Zone 36 - Heat Zone 4,5,6
[linked image]

 
 


(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 25 2011, 12:35 PM 

Ken and Linda
When I have direct sown my zinnias in the past directly where they were to grow, I didn't have to pinch them. They got the right amount of light from all directions and didn't get rangey or lanky. Others may have other thoughts on this.

With regards to other plants.....any that were sown directly in the ground did fine for me without pinching. Mums were pinched back to keep them short and bushy oh yes my Salvia azurea gets pinched back since it gets so darn tall (5 ft). I pinch it back until the end of June and then let it go.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a/6b
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
[linked image]

 
 

(Login Naturelover68)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 25 2011, 12:51 PM 

I've started zinnia seeds in the house for many years and I've never pinched them. I position the lights only a couple of inches above them so they don't get leggy.

Gary
Napoleon, Ohio
Zone 5b/6a
[linked image]

 
 
Ken
(Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 25 2011, 2:32 PM 

The reason I see for pinching is not to take care of leggy or rangey plants due to poor light, but to make them bushier and fuller, though I could be wrong of course. I pinched Dahlias last year for the same reason. Instead of one long stem I had a much bushier plant with multiple stems from pinching them twice. This was long before cutting the flowers for the house.

I guess I will pinch half of them and see which plants look better in a month or so.

Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:C)

 
 


(Login Celtguy)
Brugmansia Moderator - Emeritus

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 27 2011, 12:58 PM 

Ken, experimenting with a comparison is a good idea. Pinching dahlias IS a frequently recommended practice. It shouldn't be necessary with zinnias - they have a natural habit of branching about the time the lead shoot is budding up. But pinching could result in a bushier plant; one with a different appearance that you might favor. A side note: an unpinched zinnia will often produce a larger first bloom, then have a bit smaller blooms on the side shoots.

Patrick
USDA Zone 8b
Heat Zone 3
Sunset Zone 5
SeaTac, WA...one cool place
[linked image]

 
 
Ken
(Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 27 2011, 1:34 PM 

Thanks Patrick!!! :c)

Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:C)

 
 


(Login Carobuzz)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 27 2012, 8:01 PM 

Argh. I'm just reading this topic and realizing ALL of the mistakes I have made thus far. I am growing 2 types of Zinnias from Burpee Seeds: State Fair (tall) and Pinwheel (short).

Some of the plants are coming along fine, and most are getting tall leggy and falling over. :/ I'm wondering if pinching them back would help??? When is the best time to plant Zinnias? Either in cells or direct sow?

Caro
SE PA, Zone 6b
Sinking_Spring.gif

 
 

(Login WardDa)
Hummingbird Member 2005

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 28 2012, 6:22 AM 

It is best to direct seed them about the beginning of May. I often scratch out a line in the garden and then transplant them from there when they are ready. But if you know exactly where they are to go you could plant 3 or 4 seeds in each spot and then thin to one. Starting them early is a mistake most of us have made more than once.

 
 

(Login K8_Zone6)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 28 2012, 12:40 PM 

Ward,

Regarding Leonotis nepetifolia, it looks as if in warmer climes that it is indeed invasive. (Not sure "how warm" warm is.) California, Hawaii and Japan were all mentioned as places it is listed as invasive. New Jersey climate (even this past winter) doesn't exactly match the first two, but Japan is another matter.

I found this on the Dave's Garden website regarding seeds and invasiveness...

On Jul 21, 2004, Tree_Climber from Brown City, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Wear Gloves! Cut the seed heads off, and put them in a paper bag. Let the seed heads dry for a few days (or longer) in the bag and then shake the bag for several minutes. Most of the seed will fall to the bottom of the bag, and you can discard the seed heads .... make sure you still use gloves. It is not worth trying to get more seed out of the heads, those little "needles" will get you right through the gloves. An annual in my zone 5, and the seeds do not survive our winters, so no problem with it reseeding and becoming invasive here.

Not sure if that helps. (Hope you were wearing gloves!)

Regards,
Kate

 
 

(Login WardDa)
Hummingbird Member 2005

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 28 2012, 12:49 PM 

The forest of them got cut down and put on the brush pile. Last evening I noticed that they had blown back off the brush pile. I didn't collect any seeds in the fall after noting the hundreds of seedlings the spring before that. They will probably all be pulled out. It is too bad because it is one cool plant.

Thanks Kate

 
 

(Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 29 2012, 12:20 AM 

Caro,

I listened to Ward and I did not plant any Zinnia's this year. Since you already did so don't be worried... Just down the block from me is a "U pick it" type farm and they grow zinnia's to sell to their vegetable customers. He just plants the seeds right in the ground in May. My Zinnia's were big and had tons of flowers before I even noticed his growing a few inches tall. By the beginning of summer one could not tell the difference, but you will have flowers for an additional few weeks at the least.

Try to keep some space between plants if possible.

Ken

Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:C)

 
 
Indy Steve
(Login Stevenindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: When to Pinch Zinnias

March 29 2012, 12:34 AM 

Ive never grown zinnias. Are they a flower that hummingbirds can use or just an attractant for them.

Steve
Martinsville, In
Heat zone 6
Sunset zone 35

[linked image]




 
 
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