Potted Zinnia Plants: How To Care For Container Grown Zinnias

Potted Orange Zinnia Plants
potted zinnias
(Image credit: Gardening Know How, via Nikki Tilley)

Zinnias in pots can look just as lovely, if not more so, than those planted in beds. Especially if you have limited space, why not put these vibrant, cheerful flowers in containers? Zinnias are colorful additions to any flower garden - they’re great for cutting, they are easy to grow and start from seed - so they make a great choice for container gardening.

Why Grow Potted Zinnia Plants?

There are many reasons to grow zinnias. These pretty flowers come in a range of colors and sizes, they are great cutting flowers and look nice in arrangements, they are easy to grow, and they keep producing blooms all summer, even when it’s very hot.

There are also great reasons to consider growing potted zinnia plants. If your garden space is limited, for instance, containers on a patio can add color and greenery. If you have limited sun in your yard, a container will allow you to move your zinnias to catch the rays. And, with pots, you can even grow these pretty flowers inside in the winter, adding cheer to the colder months.

Choose varieties that are shorter, as the tall zinnias won’t do as well in containers. Good options for pots include the hybrid bedding zinnias. These have a short, spreading growth habit. Look for Zahara, Star Orange, Raspberry Lemonade Mix, and Solcito cultivars.

Starting Zinnias in Containers

You can either start your zinnias by getting transplants from the nursery or by starting them from seed. The seeds are large and easy to handle, and these flowers germinate quickly, so this is a cost-effective and simple way to get container-grown zinnias.

If you plan to have your zinnia containers outdoors for the summer, start seeds inside about six weeks before the last frost of spring. You can start them right in the pots you intend to use. Cover seeds with about a quarter-inch (0.5 cm) of soil.

Keep the soil moist and warm, and once the seeds have sprouted, put them in a sunny spot. You can take them outside after five or six weeks.

Zinnia Container Care and Maintenance

Once you have zinnias growing in pots, care for them is easy. Make sure they get a lot of sun throughout the day, as this will result in more flowers. Water the pots whenever the first inch (2.5 cm) or so of soil has dried out. Make sure the container has drainage holes, though, so you don’t get standing water or soggy roots.

Deadhead your zinnias as the blooms fade to promote more flower production. Trim each dead flower off at the stem, which will also stimulate more growth to keep the plant bushy and full. Make sure the foliage stays dry and has good air circulation to prevent fungal infections like powdery mildew.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.