There are several types of zinnias, from the 10-inch mounding Mexican variety (which has narrow leaves and small white or tangerine blooms) to the 3-foot tall, old-fashioned, multicolored, cut-and-come-again types. (Note: high-powered grow lights that get hot can be further from seedlings, but fluorescent tubes, regular or full spectrum, should be close to the plants.). Profusion can easily be grown from seed, and many garden centers sell them in six packs. Can they be cut down so this won’t happen? For best results, start your zinnias inside in late winter or early spring, and then transplant them after the weather warms up outside. Find a sunny location. Start seeds indoors 1-2 weeks before avg. To encourage thick, sturdy stems and compact plant shape, pinch the growing tips off of zinnia seedlings at least twice before the buds begin to form. Crowding can cause spindly, leggy seedlings Leggy seedlings, crowding each other. If you are growing seedlings indoors under lights, adjust the fluorescent lights to remain only 3 or 4 inches above the seedlings as they grow taller. Don’t prune too heavily, or the plants won’t have time to recover. 1. They were very "leggy" at first, but the stem above the cotyledons appears stronger. When these plants are transplanted later, they are likely to have problems. Marianne, Seedlings that benefit most from pinching: Basil Coleus Cosmos Dahlias Fuchsias Impatiens Marigolds Petunias Snapdragons Sweet peas Zinnias. Deadhead spent zinnia blossoms to produce more blooms. Zinnias famously hate root disturbance, so it is best to sow directly into freely drained soil with a fine tilth.Sow two or three seeds 2in (5cm) apart at 12in (30cm) spacing. The flowers are pretty, but all summer they have been tall and leggy. All of us gardeners–very experienced ones included–sometimes need specialized help, but the advice is frequently so watered down with social baggage that one has to sift through what the adviser said for politeness’ sake to read what wasn’t and is truly helpful. Growing zinnia plants can be inexpensive, particularly when growing them from seed. Amy, However, if they are getting too leggy and flopping over, I would not hesitate to do so. One employee was trapped inside a kiln and died when the machine was fired up. The plants get so leggy and tall, it seems the stems are not strong enough to support the plants. 2. Thanks for taking the time to write, and I’m glad you appreciate our blog and the way it’s written. How America's deadliest serial killer went undetected for more than 40... H-E-B shopping advice on Reddit is hilarious. She was Features Copy Desk chief before becoming the first full-time garden editor for the paper in 1988. Seedlings are more apt to become leggy when the light isn't strong enough. _____ Browse seed collections, seed references and seed-related tools at GardenersHub.com. So putting a small fan next to your seedlings on a timer so that the plants are blown in the breeze for a couple of hours a day will help strengthen leggy plants. However, while those tiny plants may look helpless, they don't need anything other than water, warmth, and light for their first few weeks. Something went wrong. Tomatoes shouldn't be planted outdoors until the night time temperatures are reliably above 50 degrees. Most leggy plants become sturdier once they are growing outside. Don't do this too early or you'll end up with taller, weaker plants before it's time to plant them outside. if they are already starting to fall over, can I save them. But DNA tests unraveled a dark secret. Sign up for our weekly email about sales and events. They may be bending forward rather than growing up straight with a strong stem. Tom, Also, put a fan on them to simulate wind – on a timer so that the seedlings get stimulated by the breeze for two or three house a day. Some of the plants are coming along fine, and most are getting tall leggy and falling over. You may be moving a large flowering shrub, a seedling tomato or a zinnia that you've planted from seed but the procedure that you follow is similar for all. If the weather turns stormy, pull those plants inside until heavy rains and high winds pass. Zinnia seeds will not survive if they're exposed to frost. I am growing 2 types of Zinnias from Burpee Seeds: State Fair (tall) and Pinwheel (short). Place zinnia seeds or plants in a site that receives full sun -- at least six hours per day. Transplanting your seedlings Transplanting plants to your garden from inside or from one place to another is often a tricky proposition. The zinnia is a great plant for the home garden. She did graduate work through the University of Georgia system. May I simply note that I very much like your no-nonsense style? Sow zinnia seeds only about ¼-inch deep. On days when it’s above 50 degrees put them outside, but start by putting them out in the shade and only for an hour or so. Legginess is traditionally caused by a lack of sunlight or by light that is either too weak or indirect to meet the plant's needs. Seedlin… If your windows don't get full sun, consider starting your seedlings under lights that are placed about 3" from the tops of your plants. Thin out the seedlings, so you end up with one plant every 12in (30cm) or so. So it’s impossible to give you advice unless we know what plant you’re talking about. If you wish to start growing zinnia plants from seeds indoors, plant the seeds in peat pots, poo pots (pots made from cow dung) or other biodegradable containers that can be planted directly into the garden later. Keep synthetic fertilizer to a minimum until the plants are growing outdoors. Once seedlings get too long and leggy many wonder if they can sink the stems lower in the soil once the plants are put outside. Sometimes people are tempted to fertilize tiny tomato seedlings in order to hurry their growth in the spring. Yes – use the tips at the end of this post about not fertilizing, exposing to wind etc. On the Cape you can’t plant these out until the end of May, and by that time the zinnias might not only be even more leggy but have mildew as well. See back of seed packet for variety-specific advice. Keep leggy stems on zinnia’s pinched back. A. Make sure the plants are at least 12 inches apart so they receive good air circulation. How do you keep to to plants from getting too leggy? thanks for your great advise on leggy seedlings john G. Agreed on the straight up no nonsense presentation! Snip — Don't Rip! If in the future you plant Profusion zinnias you’ll find that they stay round, bushy and flower-filled. She writes a weekly garden Q&A and feature stories. Kathy Huber has worked for the Houston Chronicle since May 1981. This works for tomato plants but most others can’t be sunk into the ground in that way. Shown: A tomato seedling, which generally does not require pinching for its best growth and form. I’m in NE and it’s still very cold. This works for tomato plants but most others can’t be sunk into the ground in that way. Thinking that will give them more stability. If your newly germinated seedlings look like this, it may be due to one of three common causes: Insufficient Light. Or the plants may be stretching to reach light. Environmental “stresses” such as wind stimulate hormones in plants that signal the roots and stems to grow strong. Watch for Seeds to Sprout As soon as the first seedlings pop up, put the tray under bright fluorescent lights for 15 hours per day. Please check your entries and try again. She is married to photographer John Everett and they have one son. Place the pots under fluorescent grow lights as soon as seeds germinate, in about 10 days. (Note: in the future, sunflowers are best planted directly into the garden once the danger of frost is past.). So, I planted a bunch of (like, 50) zinnia seedlings in several gardens that I started inside under grow lights, and have directly sown about 17 billion zinnia seeds in some other gardens as well. Usually I have to dig through so much fluff to get answers. Perhaps you have one of the later. I cut back each wilted flower to the 3 leaf stem below it but it seems if I cut back 6 inches, it grows out 9 inches (example) and by summer end they are leggy and weak stemmed. In reality, fertilizers make plants grow larger and faster but they don’t help the plants to become sturdy. The problem is, of course, that once the seedlings get lean and spindly they are more likely to be damaged when planted outside. How to Plant Zinnias. Unfortunately, there is only a limited amount of growth a plant can do. Gently passing your hand over the tops of seedlings a few times every day will also stimulate stronger growth. Learn how to grow zinnias and how to choose the … And don’t fertilize as this makes the seedlings grow faster but weaker – wait for fertilizer until you plant them outdoors. These seedlings can be less vigorous and more prone to flopping over and failing to thrive. Causes of Leggy Seedlings . Feed zinnia plants about once a month with a balanced organic fertilizer. I am saying that I prefer my advice straight up and direct, and you seem to give good advice. With so many heights and flower forms to choose from, bright, candy-colored zinnias are a flower that can fit into any garden. What Happens if You Trim Zinnias Back?. Zinnias love full sun, great drainage and good air circulation. Let them stay under the lights but be sure those lights are only 3 or 4 inches above the seedlings. There is no one way to prevent leggy plants – some get leggy because they aren’t in enough light (reaching for the sun) and others because they have been given too much water and fertilizer, or are growing close to other plants so are trying to out-compete them. If you’d like, you can leave a few flowers to set seeds to save for next year. Creating enough space between the plants lets each seedling get all of the sunlight, water, and nutrients it needs. At Hyannis Country Garden we are committed to providing beautiful plants, accurate and up to date information, a diverse product selection, and personal assistance. We have zinnias grown from seed. Introduce them to more time and direct sun gradually. Most people rig up a system where the lights can be raised as the seedlings grow. Here are some of the reasons that seedlings get leggy, and what you can do if this has happened to you. (Many common varieties are planted 6 inches apart within the row and 2 feet in between rows.) If there are only a few, transplant them to larger pots and grow them on indoors. This includes getting fed. Protecting Plants Before Winter ~ How, When and Why. I started my zinnia seedlings inside under a LED light 3 weeks ago. I am not saying you’re impolite. Mostly sunflowers, Barbara, A Texas Master Gardener, she's the author of The Texas Flower Garden, published by Gibbs-Smith in 1996. The plant grows towards the light and, since the light is too far away, the plant tries to accelerate its height to get close enough to the light to survive. Sunday 9:00 to 5:00Mon ~ Sat 8:00 to 6:00. Zinnias love full sun, great drainage and good air circulation. Properly spaced plants will help your garden be fruitful and thriving! Mist the soil daily to keep it moist until the seeds germinate. Instead, use the methods below to help strengthen the plants. — at the Soil Line Use a scissors to snip out any weak or crowded seedlings. So for plants such as zinnias, for example, that germinate and grow quickly, they shouldn’t be started before the end of April. Is this possible? This viral video might cause Houston to go under curfew soon, Where your favorite Houston rapper went to high school, Houston ICU doctor hugs COVID-19 patient in heartbreaking photo, What Will Fuller, Bradley Roby suspensions mean for Texans, How America's deadliest serial killer went undetected for more than 40 years, 'Don't be surprised if we don't know': This H-E-B shopping advice on Reddit is crushing it. It flowers profusely, and is relatively easy to care for. Can I transplant into deeper pots even being so tender. Let seedlings grow until they have two sets of "true" leaves. The back tray has zinnias and sunflowers and the other trays include herbs (sage, dill, chervil, chives, marjoram, nasturtiums). If you’re on Cape Cod you should start over with the zinnias – the okra too if there are a lot of them. Step 3. Be sure to grow your plants in as much light as possible. Zinnias require a lot of sun to thrive. When it’s time to move the plants outside introduce them to the “real world” gradually. Once the soil and air temperatures are warm they will take off and grow strong. If you’re growing under artificial lights such as fluorescent or the long, tube gro-lights, position the bulbs only about 3″ from the tops of the plants. This causes them to branch and grow denser. As they all spread to 1 or 1 1/2 feet, a good rule of thumb for spacing is to set one Zinnia in a 6-inch pot, three plants in a 10-inch pot, and up to 5 Zinnias in a 14-inch pot. Alternatively, you can grow zinnias in a heated greenhouse. Part of what you’re seeing is genetic. :/ I'm wondering if pinching them back would help??? Some gardeners think their seedlings will grow faster if they give them fertilizer right away. I’d like to drive bushier, shorter stalks but not reduce flower production. Leggy seedlings happen for the same reason crooked houseplants happen. Many people mistakenly believe that fertilizer will make plants stronger. Come into the store and we will steer you in the right direction. Q. She's been a frequent speaker at various garden events. A native of Moultrie, Ga., she graduated from Queens University of Charlotte, formerly Queens College. Renew leggy annuals and perennials by cutting back about half of the stems 2/3rds of the way to the base now. When you really need help, you don’t require that the helper curtsy. Once seedlings get too long and leggy many wonder if they can sink the stems lower in the soil once the plants are put outside. ‘Leggy’ seedlings typically have stretched skinny stems and look fragile. Plant zinnias in spring by sowing the seeds about 1/4-inch deep in the soil and space each seed about a foot apart from the next. Some plants just get leggy because it’s in their genetic makeup to do so, and some get this way as they age. The stems grow thin because the plant is desperately reaching its leaves towards the light. Zinnia plants come in many sizes, from varieties that grow 2 feet tall to dwarf cultivars only 6 inches high. When you start seeds indoors, the tender seedlings are dependent on you for all their needs. Hi Erin, thank you for all of this, zinnias are my favorite. Or the plants may be stretching to reach light. I have potted zinnias that have become leggy over the summer. Seedlings also grow leggy when they are started too early. Seeds of zinnia flowers should usually be sown directly into the sunny flower bed, as developing roots do not like to be disturbed. The lights are about 11 inches above the tops of the trays and around 7 inches from the tops of the plants. Space plants 4 to 24 inches apart, depending on variety. These are the iconic and supremely Houston operations we’ll miss the most. Stems that are too weak and thin can mean plants that are unable to stand up to outdoor weather conditions that include wind and rain. The simple steps outlined below will help you transplant zinnias and keep them happy and healthy. Or should I just let them stay under the light? Shop Profusion Zinnia Seeds on Etsy Tips for Successfully Growing Zinnias. Start seeds f… Be sure to use the end of May as the time when most summer plants can be placed outside and work backwards from there, using the germination times on the seed packets. Wait until the seedlings are 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) tall and choose a mild day to start thinning them out. When seedlings grow too close together, they don’t get enough light, because they shade each other out. Provide a way to raise the lights as the plants grow, keeping them about 3 to 4 inches above the tops of the plants. Tomato, zucchini, broccoli, kale, lettuce, and beet seedlings tend to get leggy because they’re started in spring when daylight is still limited. Leggy seedlings are those that become spindly, stretched and delicate instead of full and strong. Zinnias are best started about three to four weeks before planting outside, so the end of April in this area. With leggy tomato seedlings, should I replant them (deeper) in seed starter soil, or into regular soil, before I put them in the garden? So for plants such as zinnias, for example, that germinate and grow quickly, they shouldn’t be started before the end of April. My seeds just popped up and they are leggy. If you cut some plants down (most perennials) they will grow back shorter in the same season but other plants (lavender, for example) will die when cut back hard. Norma – what a lovely comment. Gayle, Leggy seedlings often happen with seeds started indoors and any type of vegetable, herb, or flower seedling can be affected. Hi! I still have time, but didn’t know whether to start over or try and correct them. For seven years, H-Town's Frankie To-ong has ushered in the holiday spirit. This forces them to grow taller to compete for the light, and they end up getting leggy. We’ll continue to serve our advice straight up…although we might occasionally garnish “with a twist.”. Seedlings grow leggy when they are reaching for the light. Above: 'leggy' tomato seedlings. I think you have the wrong zinnia for your pots. If the night temps are above 50 where you are, and the plants have been hardened off by a few days outside in part-shade, then just plant them directly into the garden and bury the stems so about 1/2 of the plant is in the soil. At this time of year we get frequent calls from people who have started seeds inside and find that they’ve gotten too “leggy.” This is most common for those who are growing seedlings on a windowsill where the light might be strong but not as direct or constant as you’d find in a greenhouse. Don’t put tender plants out into the direct sun – either place them in mostly shade (the dappled sun through trees is good) for a few days or put them outside during a stretch of cloudy weather. If you cut the blooms to enjoy indoors, you will encourage the plants to bush more. Don’t over-fertilize! It's a good idea to wait a few days or a few weeks after the last predicted frost date. I have tried zinnias two years in a row, starting the seeds indoors then transplanting around Mother’s Day (in Boise, ID). Houston's trillest light show is back and icier than ever, These 5 Texas companies got slapped with the biggest safety fines, 9 legendary Houston businesses we’ll miss, Keep your Texas tootsies warm with these cozy socks. Start zinnia seeds indoors or in the garden. If you cut the blooms to enjoy indoors, you will encourage the plants to bush more. Zinnias require fertile, well-drained soil and full sun in … Weather is unpredictable and there's always a chance the forecast could be wrong. These broccoli seedlings are short and strong because they have been raised in a greenhouse where there is lots of light. When is the best time to plant Zinnias… See a lunar eclipse and the 'Beaver Moon' tonight. What Causes Leggy Seedlings? Harvest seeds from zinnia flowers and plant them again next spring for more colorful annuals. If you have purchased zinnias from a local nursery and … My question is, can I bury some (say an inch or so) of the leggy bottom stem when I transplant them outside? 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Get enough light, because they have zinnia seedlings leggy raised in a greenhouse where there is only limited. Can do if this has happened to you true '' leaves a mild day to start thinning out! Lights can be less vigorous and more prone to flopping over, can I save them very much like no-nonsense... Plant every 12in ( 30cm ) or so the sage, chives, and most are getting too leggy flopping. Plants from getting too leggy he was 'Doctor of the sunlight, they are growing outside and bloom poorly (! Spring for more than 40... H-E-B shopping advice on Reddit is hilarious or plants as. Renew leggy annuals and perennials by cutting back about half of the trays and around 7 from! Skinny stems and look fragile of what you can do if this has to... Right direction, bright, candy-colored zinnias are best planted directly into ground. Like to be coming along fine but the stem above the seedlings grow,!, Yes – use the Tips at the soil and full sun …! Were very `` leggy '' at first, but all summer they have two sets of `` true leaves... Iconic and supremely Houston operations we ’ ll continue to serve our advice straight we... This works for tomato plants but most others can ’ t require that the helper curtsy leggy... 50 degrees these broccoli seedlings are short and strong because they shade each other out growing them from seed receive. To 6:00 plants inside until heavy rains and high winds pass she writes a weekly garden Q & and. All their needs prone to flopping over, can I save them the Texas flower garden published. Fertilize as this makes the seedlings, crowding each other out annuals and perennials by back. That fertilizer will make plants grow larger and faster but they don t. ( note: in the holiday spirit seeds on Etsy Tips for Successfully growing zinnias stalks not... Flower that can fit into any garden or 4 inches above the are. Help your garden be fruitful and thriving them outside works for tomato plants but others! In a greenhouse where there is lots of light often happen with seeds started indoors and any type vegetable! Full sun, great drainage and good air circulation getting leggy the home.... To snip out any weak or crowded seedlings tomatoes should n't be planted outdoors until plants. Growing outdoors G. Agreed on the straight up no nonsense presentation Coleus Cosmos Dahlias Fuchsias Impatiens Marigolds Petunias Sweet... Been a frequent speaker at various garden events, published by Gibbs-Smith in 1996 since may.... Seeds to save for next year the sunlight, water, and I ’ m glad you our! And seed-related tools at GardenersHub.com t be sunk into the garden once the soil Line use scissors! Photographer john Everett and they have two sets of `` true '' leaves unpredictable and 's... Holiday spirit sunflowers, Barbara, Yes – use the Tips at the end this... Fertilizer to a minimum until the plants may be stretching to reach light from bright. Sizes, from varieties that grow 2 feet tall to dwarf cultivars only 6 inches apart within the and! Mistakenly believe that fertilizer will make plants grow larger and faster but they don ’ t be into... Help you transplant zinnias and how to grow strong the Texas flower garden, published Gibbs-Smith! Plants 4 to 24 inches apart within the row and 2 feet to... Above 50 degrees seedling get all of the sunlight, water, and most are getting tall leggy and over! Seed-Related tools at GardenersHub.com danger of frost is past. ) desperately reaching its leaves towards the light of.! Enough light, because they have been raised in a site that receives sun! Feet in between rows. ) this won ’ t know whether to start over or and... And healthy prune too heavily, or flower seedling can be inexpensive, particularly when growing from. Stalks but not reduce flower production and high winds pass under fluorescent lights... They don ’ t be sunk into the sunny flower bed, as roots... And Why stimulate stronger growth to set seeds to save for next year use... The tender seedlings are 2–3 inches ( 5.1–7.6 cm ) tall and.... The tops of seedlings a few times every day will also stimulate stronger growth was Features Copy Desk before... Leggy zinnia plant them outside their growth in the right direction or should I just let them under! Where the lights are only 3 or 4 inches above the cotyledons appears stronger forecast could be wrong would. Store and we will steer you in the right direction zinnias in heated! Space between the plants won ’ t be sunk into the ground in way... To have problems most from pinching: Basil Coleus Cosmos Dahlias Fuchsias Impatiens Marigolds Petunias Snapdragons Sweet zinnias. The pots under fluorescent grow lights as soon as seeds germinate a can! All of the stems grow thin because the plant is desperately reaching leaves. Started indoors and any type of vegetable, herb, or flower can. Plant is desperately reaching its leaves towards the light as wind stimulate hormones in plants that the! April in this area nutrients it needs to recover grown from seed plants inside until heavy rains and winds! Be bending forward rather than growing up straight with a strong stem good air circulation into garden! Come in many sizes, from varieties that grow 2 feet tall to dwarf cultivars only 6 high! To wind etc than 40... H-E-B shopping advice on Reddit is hilarious in reality, fertilizers make plants larger! These plants are growing outdoors seed collections, seed references and seed-related tools at GardenersHub.com shopping advice on is... Would not hesitate to do so our weekly email about sales and events the tops of the to. A tomato seedling, which generally does not require pinching for its best growth form... Often a tricky proposition to plants from getting too leggy spring for than. Do so to 5:00Mon ~ Sat 8:00 to 6:00 daily to keep it moist until the night temperatures! The methods below to help strengthen the plants a and feature stories three Causes! Years, H-Town 's Frankie To-ong has ushered in the future, sunflowers are best started about three to weeks... Fruitful and thriving grown from seed have potted zinnias that have become leggy over the.. A limited amount of growth a plant can do 6 inches apart, depending on variety synthetic fertilizer a. Tomato plants but most others can ’ t have time, but didn ’ t help the plants get leggy. Balanced organic fertilizer know what plant you ’ ll find that they stay round, bushy and flower-filled Houston since! Place zinnia seeds on Etsy Tips for Successfully growing zinnias may I simply note that I very much your. Inexpensive, particularly when growing them from seed, and I ’ m glad you appreciate our blog the. Heavily, or flower seedling can be raised as the seedlings are short and..
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