A good year for zinnias

The zinnias have loved the hot dry weather we have had this August and September. 

They are half hardy annuals and dislike being transplanted so they are generally the last thing which I sow each spring. I do not direct sow (which is often recommended) but the seeds germinate very quickly so if sown at the end of May and quickly moved into their final growing space they should thrive. 

The plants should be 'pinched out' to encourage the growth of lots of stems and they must have plenty of space. This year they sulked through the very wet June but eventually emerged full of colour.

The flowers should not be harvested too early or the neck of the stem will bend. Instead, wait until the little ring of yellow flowers are well open. The more you pick the more they flower. 

It is possible to buy seed of a large variety of separate colours  wine red, cerise, orange, yellow, green  and some very large headed varieties, even ‘cupcake’ varieties! My favourites this year have been the smaller flowered varieties, and also queen red lime’ (pictured).

On 1st September we harvested a record 500 stems and sent them out to two weddings, a 60th birthday party and in many bunches.