Deadheading a Zinnia

Multicolored zinnia flowers in bloom.
What You'll Need
Pruning scissors
What You'll Need
Pruning scissors

A zinnia is a very beautiful flower that can be provoked into flourishing by deadheading. Planting the zinnia and making sure that it gets enough sun, food, and water are all important to keeping the flower blooming, but deadheading is what will keep the zinnia blooming all season. This article will show you how to properly do it.

Why Deadheading Is Important

If you are new to gardening, you may have heard people in the plant store talk about deadheading plants. Deadheading is the method by which a flowering plant is encouraged to continue to flower. Once a flower begins to fade, it is removed from the stem or shoot. How you actually deadhead a flower depends on the flower itself, as well as how many flowers are on a single shoot.

Deadheading keeps the plant focused on using its energy to flower instead of seeding. This means the plant will continue to flower as long as it can and will look its best the entire season. The more you deadhead the more blooms you are likely to get and the longer your plant will flower.

Where to Deadhead a Zinnia

If you choose to deadhead the zinnia low on the stem, you will get a plant that will grow lower to the ground. The reverse also applies if you deadhead the zinnia higher on the stem. Cutting a zinnia back at any point will cause it to branch there, produce new stems, and then flower. The removal of leaves that prevents the occurrence of photosynthesis is not really an issue for these, because they are very active growers. You can either cut a zinnia back to the nearest set of leaves, or you can opt to cut them further down. The decision is up to you. Either way the zinnia is a very forgiving plant.

How to Deadhead a Zinnia

This is a rather simple process that most gardeners can do without a problem. The first step is to locate flowers that are wilting. Their color will be off and they will not be strong. Take off spent flowers by pinching them where they connect to the stem and twisting until they pop off. If you wish to create extra flowers, you can repeat the previous step, but you'll be pinching tips of young stems. Removing the budding tips of the stem will create stronger flowers that flourish.

Creating a Bushy Zinnia

This is an interesting occurrence and may take a few attempts to get it right, but the end result creates a large and bushy zinnia. Cut the zinnia back to a low point. Wait for the young growing points to establish several new leaves. Once this happens, pinch them off. Continue doing this for several periods of growth. The flowers will be unimpressive and small, but the zinnia itself will grow rather large and bushy.

A little working here and there will keep your zinnia flourishing all season and will give you the opportunity to control its growth as you see fit.