It Can Be Fun To Breed Your Own Zinnias

By ZenMan
April 6, 2015

As you already know, zinnias are easy to grow, and they come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and descriptions. But did you also know that zinnias offer you an easy entry into the hobby of plant breeding?

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Avatar for Marigold246
Jun 11, 2020 12:52 PM CST
Thread OP

Hi Zen Man,
I came across your name regarding zinnias and their issues on a few sites over a long period of time so it seems you are quite knowledgeable about them.

I joined here in order to seek out your expertise.

This is my second year growing zinnias for cut flowers. This year I used seeds from Botanical Interests.

Seedlings are about four inches high and I am noticing a few branching already which I thought was early since I haven't pinched them. And on those there are deformed leaves. The are pinching together and narrow to the end, almost what is would look like if a Caterpillar was making a nest, but no bugs.

I'm assuming a nutritional deficiency or something but I have very little experience and am not finding the problem online.
Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
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Avatar for ZenMan
Jun 12, 2020 9:57 AM CST
Name: ZenMan
Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United States of America Seed Starter Keeper of Poultry Hybridizer
Hummingbirder Dragonflies Garden Photography Butterflies Zinnias Garden Ideas: Level 2
Hi Marigold246, Welcome!
Welcome to this National Gardening Association forum.

That picture does look like a nutritive deficiency. I recommend feeding zinnias with Miracle-Gro Tomato Food. It is a reasonably complete formula with a bit more Magnesium than most of the Miracle-Gro formulas.

ZM (not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)
I tip my hat to you.
Avatar for Marigold246
Jun 19, 2020 12:12 PM CST
Thread OP

Hi Zen man, thank you for the reply. I was honestly beginning to think it might Aster Yellow. Some of my nearby strawberries have deformed leaves as well, but I guess that could also be nutrition. I hit them with some regular miracle gro that I had on hand and will pick up some tomato MG when I am able to. I sell these roadside or at a small farm stand nearby and the income is helpful so it was devastating to think I might lose my crop after putting so much work I to them this spring. I am still new to zinnias and by no means a master of dealing with problems if any arise. Thanks again.
Avatar for Blommar
Nov 5, 2022 7:51 AM CST

Hello ZenMan,
Several years ago I stared following this thread and you kindly answered my multitude of questions. At the time I asked (maybe strongly suggested, maybe implored) if you would write a book. You gently declined. You also inspired me. I have written a self published book about zinnia breeding titled "The Zinnia Breeder's Handbook: A Guide to Growing and Breeding Zinnias for Flower Farmers, Gardeners and Enthusiasts."
Your information inspired me to print it out, categorize it, create an index, and organize it in a cohesive way. Then I read every book you suggested, and followed up lots of their resources, and so on. All that information got categorized and complied with your information. Originally it was just for me. I needed a cohesive, topic oriented resource. Then my daughter called it a "book" and I realized I should share it.
Almost 4 years later, I just released the book. I'd be delighted to send you a copy if you feel comfortable messaging me your address. My Instagram is @BlommaFlowerFarm. You can message me privately there.
There's mention of you in the book, by the way and you are in the bibliography for others to find you here.
Thank you for the inspiration here's the link in case you're interested https://a.co/d/h3vvuNg
Gratefully, Blommar.
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Avatar for ZenMan
Nov 5, 2022 9:07 AM CST
Name: ZenMan
Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United States of America Seed Starter Keeper of Poultry Hybridizer
Hummingbirder Dragonflies Garden Photography Butterflies Zinnias Garden Ideas: Level 2
Hello Tiffany,

Congratulations on your new book about breeding your own zinnias !!! Thumbs up

Jackie Rosales had already given me a "heads up" about your book and naturally I purchased it immediately from Amazon, just days ago. I should receive it early next week.

Jackie has grown some remarkable unique zinnia specimens herself and she emailed me photos of some of them. Jackie, under the very clever username, rosealice, was an early participant in my original It can be fun to breed your own zinnias message threads on the old GardenWeb, and she posted some photos there of some of her remarkable zinnia specimens. Thumbs up

I can hardly wait to read your book. Again, congratulations. My hats off to you.

ZenMan
I tip my hat to you.
Image
Nov 28, 2022 11:55 PM CST
Name: Evelyn
Sierra foothills, Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Irises Region: Ukraine Garden Procrastinator Bee Lover Butterflies Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: California Cat Lover Deer Bulbs Foliage Fan Annuals
OMG! I just was on Amazon, and it just showed me your book, "THE ZINNIA BREEDER'S HANDBOOK: A Comprehensive Guide for Flower Farmers, Gardeners and Enthusiasts", by Tiffany Jones

Thank you, Tiffany!
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
Last edited by evelyninthegarden Nov 28, 2022 11:56 PM Icon for preview
Avatar for ZenMan
Dec 2, 2022 10:17 AM CST
Name: ZenMan
Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United States of America Seed Starter Keeper of Poultry Hybridizer
Hummingbirder Dragonflies Garden Photography Butterflies Zinnias Garden Ideas: Level 2
Hello again, Tiffany,

" My Instagram is @BlommaFlowerFarm. You can message me privately there. "

I don't use Instagram or any of the Internet Social platforms, but I did leave a message for you here in the National Gardening Association mailbox. That mailbox provides private two-way communications between registered National Gardening Association members, such as you and I. Thumbs up

ZM
I tip my hat to you.
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