Ask a Question forum: How far apart to plant seeds into a flowerpot?

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Name: Jane
Tobyhanna, PA (Zone 5a)
The "Garden" is my Happy Place!
Garden Ideas: Master Level
Aug 17, 2015 1:15 PM CST
I grow a lot of flowers from seeds. Some I start in 6 packs, others I just directly sow into a flowerpot. I directly sowed some cut and come again zinnia seeds into a large flower pot and they are coming along nicely. They are about 6 inches tall now. and planted about 3 inches apart. I don't overhead water them, but I use a watering pail with a long spout so that the water seeps into the soil right below the seedlings. Whenever we have a heavy rain though, the seedlings get knocked down. Would having planted them even closer together have alleviated the problem every time we have a heavy rain? Thanks for any advice.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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Aug 17, 2015 9:20 PM CST
A picture of your seedlings would help a lot here. Also, what size is the pot? The stems will strengthen as they mature, and a little wind and rain will help with that.

Sort of depends upon what the eventual size of the plants will be, Jane. If they are a tall type of zinnia, they need full sun and a lot of room, so 3in. apart will be way too close together as they get big and start blooming. You may need to pinch the terminal growing tips to make them branch so they won't get too tall and floppy.

A compact growing zinnia might do fine, but you'd be wise to give them some little sticks to support them until the stems get stronger.

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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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Aug 18, 2015 11:49 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:... you'd be wise to give them some little sticks to support them until the stems get stronger.

I was thinking "maybe cover them with clear plastic before heavy rains", but if that were easy to do, the OP probably already would have.

Funny, we all know that "hardening off" lets seedlings gradually develop tolerance for drying wind and hot sun. But it also lets seedlings develop enough stem-strength to resist big rain drops. Maybe the key phrase is "until the stems get stronger".

Some people put an intermittent, small fan on trays of seedlings to exercise their stems. Others "beat them up" by brushing the seedlings with their hand.

I think the "best exercise" for seedling stems is bright, bright light while they are growing, before you ever put them outside. A shorty, stocky seedling can take a lot of abuse that would topple a tall, leggy seedling no matter how protected it is.

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