The seedlings left behind have not quite recovered from my reaching in and pulling out seedlings to transplant. Thinning seedlings is a common method that’s used to ensure the proper spacing of plants in your garden. Compost is a wonderful form of organic matter with a good balance of nutrients and an ideal pH level, it can be added to your planting area at any time. It can be difficult to hear, but it’s something that must be done in order to grow strong, healthy seedlings. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. See the “How To Choose Which Seedlings To Thin” section above to figure out which seedlings to thin, and which ones to keep. Cut the seedlings off at the base – Never try to pull the seedlings out of the soil or you could damage the delicate roots of the other seedlings, which could end up killing them too. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations. My green thumb comes from my parents, and I've been gardening most of my life. We know that some of our seeds won’t germinate, so we plant more than one seed per cell to make sure there’s a seedling growing in each one. This means that, as the seedlings grow into mature plants, their growth will be stunted. Decide which seedlings to thin out – Choose the strongest seedling in the bunch to keep, and then thin the rest. Space 25-30cm (10-12″) between plants. The disease may also affect and disfigure flower heads. But even so, don’t underestimate the importance of thinning seedlings when it becomes necessary. An easy way to do this is to set the flat, pots or tray in a container of water so the water seeps up into the soil. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. To ensure they can reach the pollen and nectar, grow single-flowered varieties that don’t block pollinator access. If you really, really hate the thought of thinning your plants and removing perfectly good seedlings, then the best way to avoid it in the future is to take extra time to space the seeds apart properly when you plant them. Pinch once when seedlings are 6-8" tall to encourage bushiness. I live and garden in Minneapolis, MN (zone 4b). Unfortunately, there’s only so much growing a seedling can do and what it gains in height, it sacrifices in girth, resulting in thin, fragile stems. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. Read More... I’m wondering if it’s too late to thin my beets, Swiss chard & carrots? Not watering can delay germination for a week or more. Thinning Seedlings by Separating Another method used to thin seedlings is by gently separating them. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Plus, the task of carefully separating crowded seedlings is way more tedious than just thinning seedlings. Even though the thought of thinning seedlings can be really hard, learning how to thin seedlings is important. Always follow the recommended spacing on the planting instructions. Step 3. The … I have had luck with separating some of my seedlings. We have a huge range of sizes, colors, and styles of Zinnia seeds. Remove weeds in the area which serve as alternate hosts to the disease. When it comes to thinning seedlings, the sooner you do it the better. This zinnia easily takes center stage wherever it is planted. Good air movement is also important. If they are overcrowded, then that is probably why they’re still so small. If the stem is droopy or bends, it is not ready to cut. Take care not to overcrowd them or the flowers may be significantly smaller than they should be and the plants may be taller. Step 3. Always use a commercial potting mix. Use insecticidal soaps. Be sure to disinfect your tool before thinning. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. Add some sand if the ground is very moist. Your email address will not be published. Set seeds about a half-inch deep and a few inches apart. This will allow them to take up water through the freshly cut stem. This allows you to make the proper spacing and not have to thin seedlings. Thinning simply means removing some of the plants that are growing too close together so that only one plant is left to grow. Zinnias are attractive to pollinating insects, particularly hoverflies. Bacterial Leaf Spot: First signs are small translucent spots with a broad yellowish edge that slowly enlarge and become angular or irregularly circular with a reddish center. Control leafhoppers. They have been in the ground for 2 months & are only 4”. Zinnias are considered a “dirty flower” and benefit from a drop or two of bleach in their water. The leaves appear to have a whitish or greyish surface and may curl. How To Thin Seedlings Step-By-Step Step 1. Moisten the soil, then use a soil knife to carefully dig up all the roots of some of the seedling clumps in order to thin and replant them. 3,200 seeds/oz. Cut often or deadhead for continuous bloom. Thinning crowded seedlings ensures that plants have plenty of room to grow. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations. It thrives in cool wet weather conditions. We recommend planting Zinnia seeds in pots and containers indoors, then transplanting them outdoors. I’m glad I found your site, I will try again. Remove plants after they are killed by frost in fall to avoid disease issues the following year. Your browser is currently set to block cookies. Once the Zinnia seedlings are about 3 inches tall, it would help their growth to thin them to 6 inches apart. It’s best to use natural fertilizers on seedlings rather than chemical ones. Cut often or deadhead. Make sure the seed bed is evenly moist before and after germination. Avoid overhead watering. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer, as higher rates may encourage root rots. Does anyone have a preferred way of thinning? Zinnia seeds can also be easily sown directly into the garden bed once the soil has warmed and danger of frost has passed. Always follow the spacing recommendations for each variety. Monitor for pests and diseases. Thinning out zinnia seedlings. Avg. If the seedlings are all the same size, you can just randomly thin them out, or you can give it a bit more time to see if one of them starts to grow larger (but really, in this case, you can’t make the wrong choice, so thin away). Dead head zinnias when they are around 18 inch by snipping the central bud and using them as cut flowers. Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. Pinch once when seedlings are 6-8" tall to encourage bushiness and thin early to final spacing to increase air circulation and discourage disease. When the light source is too dim or far away, the seedlings kick into survival mode and grow quickly in height to try to get closer to that light. I live on the coast just south of San Francisco. Step 4. Sow indoors 5-7 weeks before outdoor planting date in spring using a seed starting kit, Sow seeds ¼  inch deep in seed starting formula. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap. Prepare the soil by removing weeds and working organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth. Seedlings also love liquid kelp fertilizer or fish emulsion. But, here in the real world, planting seeds is not an exact science. They also spread disease. It’s a wonderful, comprehensive and completely self-paced online course that will teach you everything you need to know about successfully growing garden seeds. Consult your Cooperative Extension Service for other insecticide recommendations. What Happens If Zinnias Are Not Thinned. To save the seeds at the end of the season, wait until the flowers finish blooming and then leave them there for the seed pods to develop. Have you grown zinnia seedlings? Also, crowded seedlings started indoors won’t get enough air circulation, which can cause mold growth in your seed trays. In a perfect world, every single seed we plant would grow, and it would be super easy to space all of those seeds correctly in the garden from the start. Perfect for mixed borders and the cutting garden. Plant the seeds in a row, 1/2 inch under the soil. Then thin out the others. This virus-like condition is spread by leafhoppers. After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Bring a bucket of water with you to the garden when you cut your flowers and put them in the water as soon as you cut them. Plant Your Seeds. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. Remove infected plant parts and do not work around wet plants. Step 2. Step 1. After about two weeks, thin the seedlings to 8 inches apart. But I didn’t throw the ones I pulled out away. Aster Yellows: Plants are stunted, develop witch's brooms (excessive growth), petals turn green and become deformed. Powdery Mildew: This fungus disease occurs on the top of the leaves in humid weather conditions. 28–36". Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. If zinnias don't receive enough sunlight, they will grow leggy, flop over and bloom poorly. They are at home in cottage and children’s gardens, and they are often grown in cutting gardens. Many of the best and most unusual varieties of vegetables are simply not available in your local nursery and your only option is growing these plants from seeds. If you don’t know when or how to thin seedlings (or why the heck you need to do it in the first place), then this post is for you! Here are the steps…. Thin to one seedling per cell when they have two sets of leaves. Otherwise, if you just need a quick refresher for growing them indoors, then my Starting Seeds Indoors eBook is exactly what you need. You can practice what is called succession planting where every two weeks seeds are planted ensuring you’ll have a show of zinnias throughout the summer and into early fall. Cut stems before the flower is open for cut flowers. A micro-tip pruning snip or bonsai pruning shears are perfect for thinning seedlings. This disease is worse in warm, wet or very humid weather. Step 2. Can I grow zinnias as a houseplant? Butterflies flutter about these heirloom zinnias. Sure, some types of plants tolerate a little crowding. To give your plants a healthy start to life, they need plenty of growing space right from the beginning. Plant the seeds only about ¼-inch deep. Cut on an angle to give more surface area for the water to be taken up. Vegetable plants that are overcrowded don’t produce as much food as ones that have plenty of room to grow, or they might not produce any food at all. Use the right tool for thinning seedlings – Garden pruning shears are way too big and clumsy to use for this delicate job, and it’s easy to accidentally damage other seedlings in the process. Pack the soil loosely with your fingers and water it well. Burpee Recommends: Remove affected plant parts, avoid watering at night and getting water on the plant when watering. Zinnia may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or sown directly in the garden after frost, or from potted plants. So, I thought I’d break it down into simple steps for you to follow, with pictures too (because I’m a visual learner, and some of you probably are too). As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Direct sow seeds in average soil in full sun after all danger of frost. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot. The lesions may encircle the stems and cause wilt. Packet: 15 seeds. If you decide to wait, then plan to thin out seedlings once they get a few sets of their true leaves, but not more than 3-4 sets. Zinnias actually thrive with less water. Fertilize the remaining seedlings – Once you’re done thinning your seedlings to the proper spacing, give them a shot of plant fertilizer to give them an extra boost! Plants are shorter than is characteristic for the variety and the flowers are much smaller: When zinnias are overcrowded they can become stunted and produce smaller flowers. Disinfect them by dipping the blades into rubbing alcohol, or use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to wipe the blades. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours. That’s why learning how to thin seedlings is a necessary seed starting evil, and a very important part of successful seedling care. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Water, and when seedlings emerge, thin them out to the desired spacing. Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. wait until evening, and water them well again. One of the main causes of deformed carrots and other root crops is damage to seedling roots when the plants are young. Do I need to stake my zinnias? Q: if I don't thin my zinnias what happens? But I don’t do this much anymore. I’m a passionate gardener who loves growing everything from vegetables, herbs, and flowers to succulents, tropicals, and houseplants - you name, I've grown it! Thin my seedlings?!? Keep them out of the direct sun. Sow seeds ¼ inch deep in seed starting formula. Thinning Seedlings. Use the mist setting on your watering wand so you don’t wash the seeds away or you might end up with clusters of plants and bare spots. Most plants respond well to soils amended with organic matter. Keep the soil moist but not saturated. Seedlings that are growing too close together will eventually end up competing with each other (just like weeds compete with our garden plants). We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees through links to © 2020 W. Atlee Burpee & Co. All Rights Reserved. Zinnias attract hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects. Rotate crops with plants in a different family. Plant zinnias in mixed plantings with other summer-blooming annuals, or place small groups of zinnias among perennials. Not only will this give them plenty of room to grow, but it also makes it much easier when it comes time to plant them in the garden. Keep the soil moist at 70-75 degrees F. Seedlings emerge in 7-10 days. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. To properly deadhead a zinnia, locate flowers that are brown or wilting. Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Thinning Seedlings and Plants Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks in all of the gardening world, is thinning out seedlings. Seedlings should have at least two pairs of true leaves and be about 3 to 4 inches (7.5-9 cm.) This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water. If you have good conditions for growing them indoors such as plant lights, a heat mat for germination, then you can get a head start by starting them indoors. My brand new book Vertical Vegetables is now available for purchase!! 1. Thinning is necessary when seedlings are growing in a tight group, or there’s more than one seedling growing in a seed tray cell, pellet, or seedling pot. Taller varieties may benefit from staking, especially if they are in a windy area. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Thin seedlings to stand 8-24 inches apart, depending on the variety, when they are about 1-2 inches tall. Make sure plants have good air circulation. Decide which seedlings to thin out – Choose the strongest seedling in the bunch to keep, and then thin the rest. tall before thinning. Provide plenty of air circulation. I planted them in other pots and a few in the raised garden. This is how you know it's time to trim them off and allow the other flowers to shine. Thin to 8 to 18 inches apart, depending upon the variety, once the plant has grown four leaves. Make sure the plants are at least 12 inches apart so they receive good air circulation. Your browser's Javascript functionality is turned off. Zinnia (Zinnia hybrids) Check out our Flower & Plant guide. You could also try to transplant some that you are thinning out. Botrytis: This fungus causes a grey mold on flowers, leaves, stems and buds. Why are my zinnias tall and thin with much smaller flowers than expected? So thin out any seedlings that have started to grow tall and leggy. Chemical fertilizers can cause damage to seedlings, and burn their tiny tender roots. In the event your soil is too moist or prone to drainage problems, pour a small amount of sand into the ground prior to planting to get the soil relatively firm and water-free. Zinnia seeds can be directly seeded into your flower garden, or seeded indoors for transplanting later. Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. Enroll and get started today! If all the seedlings look healthy, then cut the smallest ones off at the base. Zinnias, our most popular flower seeds, are very easy to start from seed. Eek! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions. Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. If zinnias are planted too closely together they will produce tall plants and much smaller flowers. Absolutely stunning, vibrant pink blooms are about 4-5" across, and magnificently full and uniform. There are just a few simple steps to fix seedling clumps in the garden. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact. Seeds sprout in a week or so, forming seedlings that look very fernlike. Special offers, discounts, and new products. Step 1. Perfect for mixed borders and the cutting garden. Your email address will not be published. How do I condition my cut zinnia flowers? How to fix it: thin and replant seedlings. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. A new firey-red scabiosa-flowered zinnia with large domed centers, some single forms appear too. Seedlings will grow weak and leggy when they don’t get enough light. Evening hours are a good time to thin seedlings as the cooler temps and darker conditions make it easier for the remaining seedlings to bounce back … If you’re new to growing seeds and want to learn how to grow any plant you want from seed, check out my online Seed Starting Course! Plus, it’s pretty much impossible to plant tiny little seeds one by one, so we sprinkle them over the top of the dirt instead. The chore of thinning seedlings is essential for healthy plant growth and development, to maximize flower size, and to maximize crop production. Well-drained soil is important because zinnia seedlings can be prone to rotting in cool, wet soils. Try using seeds treated with a fungicide. Sow seeds evenly 12 inches apart and cover with ¼ inch of fine soil. Gently prick out small seedlings and transplant them into their own cells if you are wary of disposing of extra sprouts. It thrives in cooler temperatures. Burpee Recommends: Remove plant debris. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. Step 2. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants and destroy them. But crowded seedlings will suffer from all kinds of problems if they aren’t thinned out properly. Zinnias are annuals and can go from seed to beautiful cut flowers very quickly. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area. Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil. Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Thin early to final spacing to increase air circulation and discourage powdery mildew. If you’re thinning seedlings that were started indoors, then you want to thin them so that there’s only one seedling left growing per cell, pellet, or seedling pot. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Shorter varieties may be tried in a warm sunroom during the summer. I would definitely try thinning them out to see if that triggers the others to grow larger. Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball. Japanese Beetles: Burpee Recommends: Hand pick early in the morning into a bucket of soapy water. Ht. Required fields are marked *. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will begin to breakdown into compost. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations. To do this, carefully remove the whole chunk of soil, seedlings and roots out of their small container. Proper plant spacing is crucial for growing healthy plants (and harvesting tons of amazing food!). They handle hot temperatures and full sun quite well. Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Sometimes it can be tough to visualize how to thin seedlings correctly. Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Moisten the soil evenly with water before planting the zinnia seeds. All content found on this website is copyrighted materials and any form of reproduction is strictly prohibited. Zinnias for pollinators. Zinnias make terrific cut flowers, and cutting the flowers encourages new blooms. Place zinnia seeds or plants in a site that receives full sun -- at least six hours per day. This is especially important for carrots and other root crops. Zinnias may be started indoors or directly in the garden. Step 3. If the stem is stiff and remains erect, it is ready to harvest. I know first hand that thinning seedlings can be a really touchy topic for new gardeners. Zinnias need room to grow, so thin out seedlings no less than 12 inches apart. Burpee Recommends: Avoid powdery mildew by providing good air circulation for the plants by good spacing and pruning. If you pack the soil too tightly, you run a risk of breaking fragile roots, and damaging the plant's ability to draw nutrients out of the soil. After the growing season, a soil test will indicate what soil amendments are needed for the following season. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Do not work around plants when they are wet. For annuals an organic mulch of shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. Please turn it on so that you can experience the full capabilities of this site. Step 4. Seedlings that were sown directly into the garden rather than started indoors should be thinned to the spacing requirements on the seed packets. I have planted a rather large zinnia patch along a fence and of course didn't think the seeds would take as beautifully as they have. Thinning seedlings to eliminate crowding is also helpful. Sowing Seed Indoors: Sow indoors 5-7 weeks before outdoor planting date in spring using a seed starting kit. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. Follow there rules, they are there for a reason. Leafhoppers: Leafhoppers cause injury to leaves and stunt growth. That with the fact that my back was killing me and in haste I didn't want to pinch all those itty bitty seeds. Burpee Recommends: Avoid getting water on the foliage. This site uses cookies to enable shopping cart usage, provide you with relevant product and promotions, and measure performance. Remove spent flower heads to keep plants flowering until fall. Transplant hardened-off seedlings to the garden after the frost. When To Transplant Seedlings Into The Garden, How To Grow Peppers From Seed: Complete Guide, How To Prepare Containers For Winter Sowing, Terms Of Use, Disclaimer and Privacy Policy. Zinnias are grown from seed. 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. Zinnias require full sun and hot temperatures to grow well and may not perform well in many homes. Thanks. Thin out the seedlings, so you end up with one plant every 12in (30cm) or so. Simply grab the stem about 8 inches (20 cm) down from the flower head and gently shake it. Firm soil lightly with your hand, water and keep evenly moist. You should use a good quality compost fertilizer on seedlings, which you can get in liquid form or buy compost tea bags to brew your own. Should I start my zinnias indoors or outdoors? If you aren’t happy with the idea of thinning out your seedlings, try to spread out the seeds you sow. There is often webbing visible on the plant. Question From: l. GUERRA - Austin, Texas, United States . Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants. Take care not to overwater seedlings; be sure to provide good air circulation and ventilation, so tops of seedlings stay dry and standing moisture is kept to a minimum. Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Keep in mind that the tallest seedlings aren’t always the healthiest. But zinnias are easy to direct sow and bloom fairly quickly from seed so direct sowing may be a better option for some gardeners. The photo you see above was shortly after I thinned them out. Raising plants from seeds can be a rewarding and exciting way to add new varieties to your garden. Alternaria Leaf Spot: Small, round reddish brown spots with white to gray centers form on the upper surface of the leaves and along the midrib. It’s too risky, and it’s a total waste of time to plant damaged seedlings that won’t amount to much. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Share you tips about how to thin seedlings in the comments section below. You can also subscribe without commenting. I got my zinnia seedlings thinned out yesterday. You'll see seedlings sprout in four to seven days. Germination rates typically vary from 70 to 90 percent, so you should plant more seeds than you think you'll really need. Yardner's Advisor Newsletter provides information just for plants in your yard! Advertisement. Zinnia seeds can be sown outdoors as early as mid-April through first week of August. When and how to water. Shorter zinnia varieties are ideal for containers. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. I’m new to gardening & this teaches me a lot. Spacing: Plant zinnia seeds a few inches apart in rows or clumps. The longer you wait to thin them, the more you risk stunting the growth of your plants (and, when you have a super short growing season like we do here in MN, plants need all the time they can get to grow to maturity). Thinning seedlings is a necessary evil when it comes to growing seeds. Pinch young plants to encourage branching unless you are growing them exclusively for cut flowers and want long stems. Steve demonstrates how to properly thin a variety of crops, including when to know thin and what tools work the best. You can usually accomplish this by by gently tipping the container on its side and easing the mass out, pushing up from the bottom as needed. They will not grow to the size, nor bloom well, if at all. Yes, you certainly can try to separate some types of seedlings instead of thinning them out. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. Then we end up with crowded seedlings! Find the strongest, healthiest, and most compact seedling in the group, and that’s the one you want to keep.

thinning zinnia seedlings

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