Not that pleased with the seeds I purchased from Burpee this year. Anyone have suggestions for great zinnia seeds? Thank you!
What is the best zinnias seed company?
Actually, Burpee is one of my favorite seed companies, for zinnias, tomatoes, and garden seeds in general. Burpee is the only seed company that I know of that has seedless tomatoes, which I really like. Burpee is also the originator of Burpeeana Giant zinnias. I do purchase seeds from other companies, to get some varieties that Burpee doesn't carry. What varieties of zinnias did you get from Burpee, and how were you not pleased with them?
I've ordered from all four and zinnias from all except Fedco
I've never had a bad package of zinnias, and I usually just tack the zinnias onto whatever order I am currently working on. In the past seven years I have had zinnias from Dianes, Swallowtail, Evergreen, Sandhill, Hudson, Park and Pinetree and have been happy with all of them. I'm trying burpeeana this year.
We are starting zinnias from seed for the first time this year.
Is there a specific post or forum where I could learn some pitfalls or advice?
We will be starting some in a small cold frame and then move onto our greenhouse and then into the field.
We are using peat pots as I have been informed that they do not like the trasplant process.
You can find dozens of articles on starting zinnias by entering starting zinnia seeds into a search engine. One that looks authoritative is: http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/zinnias.html
I have never used peat pots and my zinnia seedlings transplant just fine.
"We are using peat pots as I have been informed that they do not like the transplant process."
Zinnias do not like to be dug out of the ground and transplanted to a different place, because that unavoidably damages their root system. That is the kind of transplanting that zinnias really don't like, although if you really need to, it can be done. Peat pots aren't as good as they are advertised to be, if it is your intent to just plant the peat pots and let the zinnia roots grow out through the peat pot. The problem with that is that the walls of the peat pots are pretty hard and resistant to root penetration. If you do start in peat pots, break at least part of the wall of the pot off just before you set it in the ground.
For indoor starting, I use 3-inch square plastic pots, and let them get a little root-bound to hold the root mass together. I am right-handed, so to remove the rootball from the pot, I cup my left hand over the plant with the plant sticking out between my fingers, invert the pot with the plant pointing downward still between my fingers, flex the walls of the plastic pot a little with my right hand to free the rootball from the pot, and just drop the root-mass out into my left hand. I place the empty pot aside with my right hand, which frees it to help hold the rootball and position it in a hole in the ground. After firming the garden soil around the rootball, I make a little "moat" around the plant and pour some water with a little soluble nutrients in it into the moat to get the plant off to a running start.
By being a little bit gentle, the root-mass holds together like a peat pot, but because the walls of the mass are roots, the roots happily and quickly spread out into the garden soil with no impediment at all. And the plastic pots are reusable year after year. I prefer clear plastic pots because they let you see the roots through the sides of the pots and you can set them out or re-pot them before they get excessively root-bound.
"We will be starting some in a small cold frame and then move onto our greenhouse and then into the field."
Zinnias would probably be "happier" in the greenhouse to start with, especially if the greenhouse were warmer than the coldframe. If you are planning to grow the zinnias for cutflowers for sale at a farmers market or to a florist, it might be more practical to just sow the zinnia seeds in-ground and avoid the transplanting thing altogether. How many zinnias are you thinking about growing this year?
This message was edited Jan 30, 2013 2:16 PM
ZM, where do you get your clear pots? I've never seen any like that before. Very cool... They look a little deeper than the standard 4" pot- are they? If so, there is probably nearly the same root room. I have very limited indoor space for starting seeds, so any way to fit in a few more plants looks good to me.
"They look a little deeper than the standard 4" pot- are they? If so, there is probably nearly the same root room."
They are 3.25 x 3.25 (square) by 3.75 deep. They do hold a little more than comparable sized pots because they are square and a little deeper than usual. Their rimless design makes it easy to get 18 of them in a standard 11 x 22 tray or PermaNest tray. I use the PermaNest trays because they are rigid and reusable from year to year.
They are orchid pots, and your link is one source of them. Over the years I have bought them from several sources, including rePotMe and OrchidNuts. My OrchidNuts source on Amazon has apparently gone away. They packed 80 of them in one of those post office mailers for a good price. See my middle picture above. If you need a lot of them, you can save money by buying them in case quantities. Your source's listing,
Part Number: #3.25NCUVM
30˘ each any quantity + shipping
135 shipped anywhere in continental US for $49.00
looks like a good price if that $49 includes 135 pots.
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)
I like Permanest, too. They are much more sturdy, I really worried about leaks with the standard ones, with good reason. They don't hold up forever.
I followed Don's link- thanks Don!- and realized that because they are lifted up to let air to the roots, they won't work on my self-watering capillary mats. Although right now we're around most of the time, in a couple of months we will open the house and be there on weekends, in the city during the week. Self-watering lets me be a long distance gardener! Lol...
"...and realized that because they are lifted up to let air to the roots, they won't work on my self-watering capillary mats."
Actually, I think they would work on capillary mats. The pots do stand up a little on four corner "feet", but there is a sizable round hole in the bottom of each foot, which would provide a direct contact pathway from the capillary mat to the growing medium in the pot. And I think the pots might sink into some capillary mats a little and provide some additional contact between the mat and the medium.
Thanks, I didn't realize that, don't know how I missed it. There are plenty of holes. Do you have any problem with the dirt falling out?
"Do you have any problem with the dirt falling out?"
No, not at all. I use Premier ProMix BX, which hangs together nicely, and wicks well. If you wanted to use something like sand in one of those pots, you would need to put a piece of paper towel in the bottom of the pot, or the sand would flow through the gridwork in the bottom of the pot rather easily. That gridwork looks rather delicate and I was concerned that it would tend to break with use, but that hasn't been a problem. It is surprisingly strong.
The only losses I have had with those pots were my own fault. Last May, I left several of the empty orchid pots in the garden after transplanting seedlings from them into the garden. Those pots were out there in the sun and wind for the Spring, Summer, and Fall, and they got months of direct sun exposure and the wind tumbled them around from place to place. I guess that was too much for their UV protection, because last October, when I picked the pots up to rewash them for use this year, I found that they had become brittle and easily broken. I discarded those and vowed not to leave the pots out in the garden again. In normal use under lights, or even with exposure to sunlight in the window, the pots seem to retain their flexibility just fine. I have a bunch of my original orchid pots that are in their sixth year of use that are doing just fine. They might not be quite as flexible as they were when they were new, and I don't expect them to last forever. But I am quite satisfied with their durability.
I started zinnias from seed this year as well. First batch did not sprout, so Johnny's replaced. Second set sprouted better, but they have gotten a bit "leggy" They are about 3 in tall stems, with 4 leaves up top. I need to transplants into bigger 2 in pots. My question is: can I bury the "stem" deeper (Like you would plant a tomatoe) and expect it to root out, or will this kill my zinnia babies?
Thanks in advance. I know I always get great advice here at Daves!
You can bury the longer stems a bit deeper, but they don't quickly root like tomatoes do. Your zinnia seedlings are "leggy" because they aren't getting enough light. There is not a lot of room in 2-inch pots to bury the stems deeper. I start mine in 3-inch pots to start with.
Ok. I might have to go bigger than the 2in. i planned. I don't have the garden plot ready for them yet. Thanks for the advice!