zinnia spacing

marthacr(z5 Me)February 16, 2011

I'm still planning how to make a zinnia bed work for me this year. I've never been able grow them to my satisfaction. Thanks for the suggestions already given, but I have still more questions. I found the wonderful thread you started, Thinman, on hybridizing and drooled over the photos, especially Jackie's (?) of her beautiful rows of blooming zinnias!

I'm planning to use drip irrigation and woven weed fabric with holes cut out for the zinnia plants in one or two 3'x 8' wide raised beds (the beds are already made, the width is a given.) A soil test specifically for that bed beforehand and planned organic fungicide spraying is part of the plan. I'm planting Benary Gt, Exquisite, Senora, and State fair.

Will I be able to reach to the middle plants for cutting if I "zig zag" the plants in a 2/3/2/3/2 pattern? This will let me plant 20 plants in this one bed. Will they get enough air circulation to avoid disease? We get a lot of fog and fungal diseases have always been an issue.

Are there any companion plants that I can plant on the edges that would be beneficial to the Zinnias? Or any other cutting flowers or filler plants that I can plant on the corners that I could readily add to the zinnia bouquets as I cut, or should I make it a dedicated zinnia bed?

Thanks for any additional input, and I warn you, this won't be the last you hear from me!!

Martha

Maine Z5

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grannymarsh(z4-5 U.P. MICH)

i have big-time dislike for the cloth/plastic fabrics. Preen works well, and/or I use straw mulch, which adds to the soil as it decomposes.
For the largest flowers, I disbud, allowing one large bloom per stem. That's not per plant, per stem. Disbudding also encourages more stem formation.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 2:02PM
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tommyk

Zinnias are one of the easiest cutflowers to grow, thrive in heat and can take less-than-ideal amounts of moisture. They are a main-stay for many cutflower growers.

We grow in raised beds, spacing Zinnias about 1' apart in rows 1' apart. We found that close spacing causes the Zinnias to grow even taller with longer stems. We do not disbud anything. When we cut a stem the side stems are encouraged to grow.

We used soaker hoses underneath plastic for all warm-weather plants (flowers or veggies). It warms the soil, stops weeds, and keep the soil moist. Granted plastic is non-biodegradable, but we use heavy thick plastic that lasts a number of years.

We grow only tall, large-flowering Zinnias, with Benary's Giants our favorites, but we grow a number of others that are almost as good. Our Zinnias produce throughout the season providing us with a large number of stems per plant for Farmers' Market bouquets.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 11:22AM
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marthacr(z5 Me)

tommyk-
How many of these 1' apart rows do you do? If I planted 3 rows in a raised bed, will I be able to harvest the middle row well enough? Do you think there will be good enough air circulation for that row in a potentially foggy season? "Normal" weather here is not hot and dry, as I live on a Maine island. Last summer WAS hot, dry and long, the previous one wet, cold and short. I wish I had grown zinnias LAST year!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 3:23PM
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tommyk

marthacr:
We live in southwest NH, had a hot & dry summer last year and our Zinnias did great (we do have soaker hoses so it wasn't a problem about no rain). We only grow in beds with 2 rows 1 foot apart and never had any problems with diseases. Not sure about 3 rows, though. You may have difficulty getting to the middle row of Zinnias if you plant 3 rows, but hey, give it a shot.

Zinnias are a main-stay for our bouquets.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 9:27AM
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