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An Urban Potager provides fresh cut flowers throughout the season for the home. In the past, I have grown my zinnias from seed late spring once the soil has warmed up from a long winter. It takes most of the summer season for them to bloom. Here, they are blooming in late fall(2011) with Russian Sage, Lime Light Hydrangea, and  Bright LIghts Cosmos.

2011 front yard, orange zinnia veggies sept 9th 011_edited-1

The past few years I have grown “Orange King Zinnias” since  they would be blooming in the fall, and they were orange! I don’t know what it is about the colors orange, red and purple, but I seem to use that color scheme often in my yard.  According to garden designers the colors red and orange are hard to use in the flower garden. My rebellious nature enjoys a challenge and sometimes I just like to throw colors, shapes , textures and odd combinations together to see what they look like. I do believe gardening is a form of art. You are painting with plants!

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Zinnias are so easy to grow in your garden. They are butterfly magnets. I love to find a butterfly enjoying a zinnia on a hot sunny day. They are usually so engrossed in the zinnia flower that they don’t even notice you inching closer to take a photo of them.

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This year I   decided to grow my own zinnia mix. I searched for the largest red, orange and orange-yellow open-pollinated zinnias I could find. I wanted to create my own mix for seed saving of these colors.

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I planted the zinnia seedlings in the garden early spring, and they were a nice size. I was worried they would not do too well since we had a chilly spring. They perked up and were blooming here in June. That was two months earlier than when I start them from seed in the garden,

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Zinnias are wonderful planted with vegetables since beneficial insects enjoy visiting them throughout the garden. While you are harvesting your vegetables from your Urban Potager ,  you can pick some cut flowers for your vases!IMG_9339_edited-1

I was determined to have big  blooms for my vases. All my zinnia seed is open pollinated and sometimes you do get a surprise in your mixes if they are not isolated.

IMG_8627_edited-1One One day I noticed next to my borage and peppers was the most beautiful pink zinnia.

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At first I was surprised since I only used open-pollinated  red heirloom zinnias, “Meteor”, “Will Rogers”, and “Redman Super Cactus”. Since I started them earlier this year , they were blooming in June. I noticed I had this incredible color of  dark pink thrown into my red zinnias. I was trying to create a red/orange/yellow mix, but thought what a delightful surprise.

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At this point I can only recognize two of the zinnias I am growing. Heirloom “Will Rogers” zinnia is above.

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The Meteor is quite large!

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Zinnias are “cut & come again” flowers and make beautiful vases. The more you fill your vases, the more your plants will produce flowers till frost!

Written by Robbie

M.S. Education, , Organic Gardener, soil + nature lover, former modern dancer

6 comments

    1. Hi Lrong,
      I am enjoying taking photos of my zinnias this year. I had some zinnias from last year reseed, so I don’t know if I will be able to save seed from this interesting mix. I may try and just find out what I get–part of the fun:-) robbie

  1. I love Zinnias. Last year I grew a variety called Queen Red Lime that were so beautiful! I have trouble saving zinnia seeds and they never reseed themselves in my garden. I have to start new each year. I don’t have many this year because of the rabbit herd earlier this spring/summer.

    1. I enjoy trying new colors each year. I tried to save seed, but I did find some zinnias that reseeded from last year. Usually that does not happn. Queen Red Lime sounds like a color I need to try next year!

  2. Hi, I have just googled your post about zinnias! I love them too and also have to start new cultivars every year, ’cause they do usually really not reseed themselves. I had one, which reseeded, it was an orange “dahlia” flowering zinnia called “Oriole”. I had also the cheerful yellow/red and white/red “peppermint sticks” zinnias and then last year a green cultivar called “Envy”. I thought the green ones will be hard to grow, but nope, they did great. This year, though, I wanted to have some bright new cultivars and I am trying the cactus flowering cultivar “Redman”. It turns out to be the most spoiled zinnia cultivar I have had so far… I have like 11/12 seedlings, which is almost nothing in comparison to over 100 seedlings of the mixed colored cultivar “Liliput”, which I have chosen to make contrast in both the height and the dahlia blossom. I have looked on your beautiful pictures, but you have no “cactus flowering” zinnias there either. I wonder if cactus flowering cultivars could be more changelling to grow, but then come on, they are still zinnias! They should be uncomplicated that’s why we like them! I wonder if the “Redman” seeds got too wet or frozen, while all other prosper in the same conditions…

    1. I grew ” Redman” out last year + it was a cactus type, but they were mixed , so I did not notice much difference, but I was not looking:-) I was growing out red and orange last summer to save a red/orange mix of my favorites, Will Rogers, Redman, Meteor, + Oriole. I got some interesting colors which I did not mind , but they were not all red. I have grown out cactus types like LIlac Emperor( pretty one) + Heirloom Bright Jewels Cactus which was mostly mixes of pinks, oranges and white( but my seed mix did not have any white), and salmon. I looked back at my post + I did not have a picture of the “Redman”, but I did have it in the mix. I got all my zinnia seeds that year from Baker Creek Heirloom. I have not found them more difficult, but I wonder with seed saving by mixing them what you get/if they are more difficult. I am curious now that you mention it, I’ll throw some “Redman” out in the garden and see what they do this year:-). Let me know what you find out. I am growing Lilliput + Persian Carpet also this year, but have never saved seeds from these yet. I need a rotation system for my zinnias, so I can save seeds and see what I get the next year!:-)

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