Zinnias that sizzle and soothe

Thomas J. Story
Maximum color from two new seed mixes

Grow bouquet-worthy blooms from two new zinnia mixes. Cool Crayon Colors Mix zinnias have blooms in soothing shades of lavender, rose, pink, and white (pictured in the front of above bouquet), while blooms in the Hot Crayon Colors Mix (in back) come in sizzling shades of yellow, orange, and red. Reaching 3½ feet tall, these zinnias are stunning in the back of borders and make excellent cut flowers.

Planting seeds

Sow seeds directly in the garden as soon as nighttime temperatures stay consistently in the 50s. Choose a spot in full sun with well-drained soil. Plant another crop in July for continued bloom into fall. Both mixes are available from Renee's Garden.

Maximizing bouquets

Keep your cut zinnia blooms bright and perky by using a floral preservative. You can make your own by providing the preservative's essential ingredients ― sugar, acidifier, and biocide ― with everyday kitchen supplies:

Mix one part regular (not diet) lemon-lime soda to three parts water, or stir 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and a crushed aspirin into 24 ounces of water.

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