Zinnia is a genus of 20 species of annual and perennial plants of the family Asteraceae. Native to American soil, zinnias have been hybridized into a vast number of cultivars and varieties that have made them a favorite bedding flower. Zinnia plants are slightly bushy in nature, and grow 6-40 inches in height.
For any seed to germinate, certain environmental conditions need to be satisfied, and these seeds are no exception. How well the seeds are harvested, stored, and finally sowed is exhibited through healthy plants and a good flower show. Harvesting and sowing time too play a vital part in ensuring a vigorous growth.
To collect zinnia seeds from flowers, earmark some good quality flowers on the plant itself. Let the flower dry naturally on the plant. One can collect different colors and shades together or separately, depending on the color scheme you want to follow next season.
De-head the dried flower from the stem. The seed heads are at the center of the flower (they hold the petals down). On a clean large sheet, shake off the dried petals from the dead head. The dried petals, along with zinnia seeds, will fall off. With a light breath, blow away the chaff from the seeds.
The seeds will be brown and dried. Store them in a clean sterilized jar or in a paper mesh bag, and keep it in a cool dry place. Keep a check on them time to time to rule out any fungal growth or infection. Some people prefer to dust a germicide powder on the seeds, which is optional. While storing zinnia flower seeds, make sure no seed is green or damp.
Zinnia seeds can be sown directly in the intended location and thinned later, or started indoors and seedlings planted accordingly. Zinnia look attractive in flowers beds, or even as edgings or borders. The tall varieties make bright temporary hedges too. Dwarf hybrid zinnia plant varieties can be easily grown in pots and containers of various sizes.
Start the seeds indoors in early summers. The sowing medium should be light and well drained. Sprinkle seeds evenly and cover them lightly with soil. Spritz some water on it until the top soil dampens. Cover with a newspaper or a plastic wrap, and keep it in a shaded place. Ensure moisture to kick-start their seed germination process.
Water them adequately; although these plants do not like too much moisture, they will not tolerate dry spells either. Mulch around to keep the weeds away. Fertilize lightly when the buds being to appear. Regularly remove flower deadheads to prolong the profusion.
As the flowers begin to fade away, hold on to them for collecting seeds for the next season, and you can enjoy these blooms year after year without buying new seeds.