The zinnia is a great plant for the home garden. It flowers profusely, and is relatively easy to care for. For best results, start your zinnias inside in late winter or early spring, and then transplant them after the weather warms up outside. The simple steps outlined below will help you transplant zinnias and keep them happy and healthy.
Step 1: Choose the Location
Native to the American Southwest and Mexico, zinnias require at least 6 hours of sunlight each day in order to thrive. When planning a location to plant, make sure that the area receives morning and noon-day sunlight directly. Some mixed shade in the afternoon is acceptable, but zinnias will drink up all of the sun you can give them. If you have rocky soil, it may be best to dig up the existing soil and replace it with compost or potting soil. Zinnias are finicky aboutt heir location, and giving them a headstart with extremely rich soil is often the deciding factor between thriving and dying.
Step 2: Choose the Season
It makes sense, starting indoors with your zinnias. You can get them started in potting soil, and then transplant after frost season is over. Make sure that you have waited until after the last frost, however, as zinnia will die back if frost bitten. You can wait until as late as early summer, but the best results come from planting immediately after the danger of frost has passed, giving the plants a full seasons of growth and adjustment to the new surroundings.
Step 3: Mixing Zinnia Soil
Dig up the area where the zinnias will be planted. Mix the soil with sifted compost or potting soil to fill it with rich nutrients. Be sure that the soil is mixed very well, without any clumps or hard packed chunks of clay. Zinnia roots prefer soft, loamy soil to hard packed earth, will not grow strong and healthy if the roots must force their way through the soil. After mixing, level out the soil, but do not pack it.
Step 4: Transplanting
Transplant zinnias in the morning. Dig a hole large enough for the root ball and associated soil to fit into. The top of the root cluster should be 1/2 to 1 inch below the surface. Pack the soil loosely with your fingers and water it well. wait until evening, and water them well again. 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.
Step 5: Zinnia Care
In order to thrive, zinnias need to have old blooms removed. this process is known as deadheading, and it helps the plant by removing old growth which has died, but continues to draw resources away from the plant. Similar to a leaking water pipe, removing the dead growth plugs up a hole and the plant is able to retain more of the nutrients it needs for healthy growth.