Before you begin, it's important to know whether your zinnias are open-pollinated plants or hybrids. You will have to put up with some unsightliness as you wait for the flowers to dry on your plants, but that's how you allow the seeds to ripen. Zinnias like well-fed soil, so some compost worked into the ground early in the season will give the soil an edge before it’s time to get the zinnia seeds or plants in the ground. They are formed at the center of the head, at the end of the petals. Deer scat is different from rabbit droppings, so look for paw prints and scat to identify the pest. There are also a few green seeds in the photo that I will not keep. The seeds will be arrowhead-shaped, pointed on one end and broader on the other, each having a raised spine running up its back. And they produce many seeds per plant, so you shouldn't have to purchase seeds or nursery plants if you want to continue growing zinnias. Wild or domestic rabbits can also eat zinnia leaves, and like with deer, the damage occurs suddenly, often overnight. Removing spent flowers allows the plant to branch out and produce more blooms. A closet is ideal. Place the packets inside a screw-top glass jar in your refrigerator until spring. If some of your plants are infected with mildew -- a grayish, powdery-looking mold on the leaves -- collect seeds from the ones that aren't, as they are obviously more disease-resistant. You can easily save seeds from your favorites, so you won’t have to purchase more next year. Once done sifting to find the seeds go ahead and compost the material left over. This may take up to a week, depending on the seed head and moisture level. I placed a sheet of paper next to my dish of seeds and carefully picked each one out. Large dahlia-flowered blooms are very double, two-toned in gold and red. Spread out the seeds and let them air dry uncovered for a few days. The green seeds are not fully ripened and I doubt they will mature at this point. From reading other posts, zinnia seeds should look like relatively large arrowheads (~1/4" wide) and should be dark in appearance. The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds; Robert Edward Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough, The New Seed Starter's Handbook; Nancy Bubel. This will help to prevent them from rotting or molding in storage. For a zinnia with a different look that resists powdery mildew valiantly, try growing the narrow-leaved Star Series or the Crystal Series, which tolerates drought and grows well from seed. Keep the varieties separate. Moisture is important in early weeks, but make sure it doesn’t get soggy. Each flower will be dark brown and dry to the touch when it is ready to harvest. They have bright, solitary, daisy-like flowerheads on a single, erect stem. Zinnias (Zinnia spp.) For outdoor sowing, plant immediately after final frost date. Plant dwarf types 6 inches apart, medium varieties 12 inches apart, and giants 15 inches apart, barely covering the seeds with soil. What does a zinnia seed look like?
You can use a thermos to keep the water hot. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. When deciding which ones to save, give preference to such heirloom, open-pollinated types as 'Cut and Come Again,' 'Granny’s Bouquet' and 'Green Envy,' since hybrid varieties like 'Blue Point' won’t come true from seed. The Zinnia seed should be black on one end. Use garden snips to cut completely dried flower heads from healthy zinnia plants. Place the harvested seed heads on a screen so that they dry thoroughly on all sides. They make a massive burst of color in your garden, and they attract butterflies. Aim to save seeds from plants that display qualities you enjoy, such as an ideal bloom color or optimal plant height. Colleen Vanderlinden is a freelance writer and the author of Edible Gardening for the Midwest. join our gardening community on fb for more tips and tricks! Each seed will look like that. Seeds from open-pollinated plants, though, will grow true to the parent plant, so it makes sense to harvest those seeds. Also, avoid watering the flower bed before harvesting seeds, or the seed heads will need more time to dry. After the seeds have dried, place them in a paper envelope or bag for storage. To harvest zinnia seeds, allow some of the best flowers to remain on the plants until their petals wither and turn brown. Label each envelope, so you remember what's in it. They will measure about 3/8 to 1/2 inch long, if harvested from medium-sized zinnias, and usually slightly less than 1/4 inch across at their widest point and brownish in color. Zinnias are among the quickest and easiest flowers from which you can harvest and save seeds. that are 1/4" long.
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