Cheerful and Bright Zinnia Bed

Last year, my friend Susan described to me how she grows a beautiful hedgerow of zinnias every year by collecting the seed heads in the fall (Fall Seed Gathering Means Beautiful Summer Zinnias).

I thought I’d give it a try this spring, so I collected all the zinnia heads from my garden last fall.

I left them in a bag over the winter on the porch and this spring crumbled up the dry seed heads to release all the seeds. No need to separate the seeds from the rest of the smaller plant material.

This spring, when the soil temperature was warm enough (usually not until after Mother’s Day here at my zone 5 home) I planted the overwintered seeds in a bare spot in the front garden that just needed some color. Just sprinkle out the seed mixture in thick rows or mat. Zinnias are definitely picky about temperature, so don’t start too early. (The dug-up plant on the left? A random daylily that was really out of place after a bunch of landscaping changes. It got replanted up at the WI cabin.)

Then I waited. I was surprised at how fast the seeds germinated, and by early July I had a beautiful, welcoming splash of color.

They’ve been blooming beautifully all summer, and the Durango Outback marigolds (Johnny’s Seeds) and Annabelle hydrangeas are perfect companions. I think the marigolds will be perfect candidates to try this seeding method with next spring.

Durango Outback Marigold

I did try this seeding method this year with snapdragons. They germinated and grew really nicely, but for some reason haven’t flowered very well.

Maybe because they’re in a planter, or maybe it needed more fertilizer, or the seeds didn’t overwinter properly? Funny thing though, they seem to have grown just great in our fire pit where I must have tossed some “waste”.

I will be definitely be collecting all the seeds heads again this fall!


6 responses to “Cheerful and Bright Zinnia Bed

  1. Wonderful! I love Zinnias, in particular the red and orange ones. Though I think here we have to start the seeds inside.

    • I was skeptical too about the short growing season, but I was surprised as to how fast they grew. They were flowering around the same time as the marigolds (which I started indoors) began to take off and flourish. Seems like no time lost.

  2. I love zinnias and will definitely be trying it this fall, along with marigolds.

    Thanks for the visual.


    • I was really happy with how they turned out. I wouldn’t have believed it without trying it myself. As a bonus, lots of butterflies have stopped by!

  3. Thanks for the tip! I don’t have zinnias but was thinking how nice a row of them would look in my backyard. Let me know if you have some extra!

    • Glad you liked the post! I’ll let you know if I have any extras. It’s amazing how many seeds you can get from a few heads.

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