Zingy Zinnias

My father grew lots of zinnias every year. Vases of the colorful blossoms filled the house all summer. Anyone he visited (or who visited him) received one of his arrangements, often in a coffee can covered with aluminum foil.

Cut-and-Come-Again is a common nickname for zinnias. The plants sole purpose in life is to make seed. Cutting the flowers before they go to seed (also known as deadheading) makes the plant produce more flowers — typically two for every one you cut. My vase (above) is overly crowded after deadheading my garden.

Because they’re plentiful in garden centers, the shrubby, heavy-blooming Profusion variety are typically the only zinnias in my garden. These (above) are orange. They also come in pink or yellow. I picked up a few more plants later in the season which must have been doubles.

The taller, cutting varieties are rarely available as plants. Fortunately, they’re easily grown from seed. I ordered a dozen plants of one variety online early in the season and planted seed for four more varieties.

All together, my little garden contains roughly 80 plants — mostly the tall, cutting varieties. The first time I deadheaded, only about a third of the plants had bloomed. About two-thirds had bloomed the second time (filling the vase above). The third wave is shaping up to be the biggest yet.