Zinnias are such happy summer annuals... and my favorite! It just wouldn't be summer if these sunny blooms weren't spreading there colorful joy all over my garden!

I have learned how to care for zinnias by trial and error over the years... here are some tips on cutting, caring for and making sure you will have happy zinnias every year...
 I was out in my garden today cutting blooms and there were dozens of little butterflies (moths) all over them.  Of course, I ran back into the house and grabbed my camera... 

As I moved through the zinnias the butterflies were softly fluttering all around. It was so magical!!!

Zinnias are not garden divas... even though they look like they should be! They are very low maintenance. 

Plant zinnias in a sunny spot in the spring when the threat of frost has passed. The are easily planted from seed. Broadcast seed liberally and let them grow in up together.

 Zinnias are sun worshipers. They also like good, well-drained soil.  

Zinnias like dry weather and can even tolerate mild drought conditions. 

The more you cut zinnias, the more blooms they produce.

Deadhead zinnias to give them a longer blooming season.

Cut zinnias again when you bring them in. Give them a snip on a 45 degree angle. This lets more water into the stem.

Strip all leave from the flower.  Leaves rob the flower of the water it needs to live. I cheat a little on this tip... I love a  little green with my flowers. I just try to keep all leaves above the water line.

Make sure your vase is sparkling clean. And use fresh water!

Use flower food in your water. Flower food is a combination of sugar and bleach and can be homemade.

1 quart of warm water
1 TBS sugar 
1 tsp bleach
Mix and let sugar dissolve. When the water cools it is ready to use.

Recut stems and change the water every day. Your blooms will last twice as long!

Zinnias not only give us blooms during the summer and into the fall, but the also give us seeds for planting the next spring.

Although I try to keep then deadheaded, I let a few zinnias blooms go to seed on the healthiest plant this time of the year... Make sure the spent blooms are totally dry.

Pluck them off of the stem, just remember what color your deadheads are.

Collect one or two of each color from the most healthy beautiful plants.

Each deadhead will give you hundreds of seeds!

When the zinnia head is completely dry I pull it apart and keep the long slender thread-like seeds. 

I make little envelopes for the zinnia seeds.  Each color and variety in it's own parchment envelope. 

And in rhythm with nature's life cycle, I am ready to broadcast the seeds in the spring... and wait for another profusion of  blooming color!

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