First, you start with the seeds. I initially bought the seeds but after the plant bloomed and the flowers dried up, I harvested the seeds and re-planted them.
For Php 59.75 you will get about this much:
You can choose to either have them grow in a seedling tray and then transplant them, or you can just directly sow them in a pot or in the ground. I tried both, and I suggest you plant them directly. The ones I planted in a tray and transplanted took 4 months to bloom as compared to the ones I directly sowed on the ground which bloomed after just 4 weeks. But if you would like to start the seeds in a tray the advantage is that you will be able to space them properly in your flower bed when they are big enough to be transplanted. If you directly sow the seeds on the ground, you wouldn't know which ones would sprout and which one wouldn't. Sometimes you'd also end up with two or more in a hole.
Regardless of whether I start seeds in a tray or directly sow them, I always use a seed-raising mix because it ensures that the seeds and seedlings get the nutrients they need for a healthy start. I put a little on top of the soil when I do the direct method and fill up the entire seed tray when I do the other technique.
Now, how deep should you plant the seeds? Just about a half centimeter. Don't bury the seeds too deep because sunlight will not reach it and could rot.You don't necessarily have to measure it with a ruler. Just pop one or two on the soil and then sprinkle it with a bit of soil that's just enough to cover it so that it will not get burned by the sun but not too shallow that it will be displaced when you water your zinnias seeds.
|Zinnias in a plastic egg tray.|
After about 3-4 days, your growing zinnias will look like the ones in the third & fourth rows. The first and the second rows are asters.
|Zinnia seedlings on the 3rd and fourth rows.|
|Transplanted zinnias on the flower bed.|
When they reach about six inches tall, pinch off the top leaves to encourage branching. Fertilize at least once a month. If you want more zinnia flowers, make sure you regularly deadhead the plant by cutting off dried flowers. But if you want to harvest seeds later on, you must bear with the ugly sight and let the zinnia flowers dry up completely on the plant which I will talk later on in another post.
Wait for about 4-12 weeks for them to bloom like the ones I have below:
So there you have it, the basics of growing zinnias in the Philippines. I know how frustrating it can sometimes be with regard to growing zinnias or any other flowering plant for that matter here with our tropical weather. I hope you learned a thing or two in this post. I will talk about harvesting zinnia seeds on my next blog post so watch out for it. Till next time, happy gardening!
|Image courtesy of: http://www.cr3at.com/2623-whimsical-garden-ideas-for-giving-wow-effect-to-your-outdoor-space/|