Create a zinnia Dreamland in your garden

  • By Norman Winter McClatchy-Tribune News Service
  • Tuesday, May 22, 2012 4:35pm
  • Life

There is nothing that will stop traffic like a large bed of Dreamland zinnias. If you have not tried Dreamland or the competing Magellan zinnias then you are missing some of the finest zinnias for the landscape.

These zinnias produce enormous flowers reaching close to 4 inches wide. The bright, colorful flowers are produced on short, stocky plants that reach from 12 to 18 inches tall, so they need no staking and will not fall over.

Many of you may be thinking that zinnias get leaf spotting diseases. This is a problem with some varieties, but if you look at the foliage of the Dreamland and Magellan zinnias, you will quickly notice there is hardly any leaf spotting disease. This makes the series an environmentally friendly performer for landscapes everywhere.

Dreamland zinnias produce bright, colorful, dahlialike blossoms that look good grown as a mixture or in single colors.

The Magellan series produces flowers just a little larger on plants just a little taller. They are available in eight colors, and a mix and include the All American Selections award-winning coral. The fiery looking Scarlet is dramatic, and the almost-white Ivory is a rare color in zinnias.

Both Dreamland and Magellan have the ability to produce incredible color over a long hot growing season. As the flowers get fully opened you will notice that butterflies will find them a real delicacy so these make fine additions to the backyard wildlife habitat as much as they do the cottage garden.

Whether you choose Dreamland or Magellan zinnias, first know they prefer full sun to really put on a dazzling performance. Prepare your beds by incorporating 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and 2 pounds of a slow release 12-6-6 fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed space.

Direct seed or set out transplants that have little to no color showing.

Thin the seedlings to 6 to 8 inches for the vigorous growth that is about to occur. Mulch when the seedlings are large enough or after setting out transplants. Side-dress the young plants in 6 to 8 weeks with light applications of the fertilizer.

Both zinnias also make great crops to plant in the fall. They partner wonderfully well with other colorful bloomers like mums, Mexican bush sage and asters. You will notice they bloom before and after mums, and they are downright inexpensive.

Lastly there is one other great attribute for these zinnias: Children love their bright and cheerful colors. Since they are so easy to grow it is hard to find a better plant than Dreamland or Magellan zinnias to get your youngsters started in gardening.

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