Zinnia Sprouts – What Does a Zinnia Seedling Look Like?

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Growing zinnia seeds is such a rewarding experience for gardeners of any experience – I highly recommend it! But once you start, make sure you know what zinnia sprouts look like! You don’t want to accidentally weed away a volunteer zinnia seedling during the spring garden cleanup.

Once you start growing zinnias from seed, it becomes a beautiful tradition if you let it. Learn how to save zinnia seeds each year and enjoy seeing the beauty of each new generation of flowers.

Zinnia sprouts and zinnia seedling growing side-by-side
Zinnia sprouts and zinnia seedling growing side-by-side in our 2022 garden.

Sometimes zinnias reseed themselves, so it helps to know what zinnia sprouts look like and how to care for them.

What do zinnia sprouts look like?

Zinnia sprouts are green with oval leaves. The zinnia seedlings may still have the seedcoat on their cotyledons at first sprout. Zinnia seedling leaves are slightly pointed with thin lines impressed on the leaf surface.

Stems are generally green or may have a purple hue.

Zinnia Sprouts cotyledon just broken through the soil
Zinnia Sprouts cotyledon just broken through the soil

How long do zinnia seedlings take to sprout?

Zinnia seeds may sprout in under a week, depending on growing conditions. Some zinnia sprouts may emerge in as little as 4 or 5 days. Be sure to keep the soil evenly moist during germination.

I usually set my zinnia seedling trays under grow lights for quicker results. You may also direct sow zinnias outdoors – just mark the planting area so you remember where they are.

What does it mean if I find zinnia seedling leaves turning brown?

If your zinnia seedlings’ leaves are turning brown, check the soil. Is it dry? Your zinnias may be getting too little water or too much heat from the sun. If you start zinnia seeds indoors, you must harden off the young zinnia sprouts before transplanting them outside. The hot sun can sunburn their delicate leaves as well.

If you are concerned about your zinnia seedlings due to brown leaves or crispy leaves, bring them to the shade or put something over them to shade them if possible. You may also need to water them!

Zinnia seedlings growing next to seeds sprouting
Zinnia seedlings growing next to seeds sprouting

Zinnia Sprouts Images

Here are some pictures of zinnia sprouts I’m growing right now!

We planted all different kinds of zinnia seeds and I can’t wait to watch them grow and enjoy the lovely flowers.

As you can see, some zinnia seedlings grow with pairs of leaves that emerge in alternating fashion.

Most zinnias have a cotyledon, which is the first leaves to emerge, usually comprising two first leaves. However, in the past, I planted my dad’s zinnia seeds and one of the zinnia seedlings had a tricot – cotyledon with three leaves!

Of course, this didn’t last forever and eventually the plant reverted back to pairs of leaves instead of trios. It was still very cool!

Zinnia Sprouts Images in our 2022 garden
Zinnia Sprouts Images in our 2022 garden
One looks like somebody took a bite out of it!

Caring for Zinnia Seedlings

Make sure you water your zinnia sprouts and introduce them to the outdoor sun gradually. As they grow, you will soon be able to pick flowers to enjoy indoors in a vase if you wish.

As they are young and more delicate than established, mature zinnias, make sure you check your zinnia seedlings regularly for watering needs and signs of stress or other issues.

Keep space from one zinnia seedling to the next. Ultimately, you will want around 12 to 18 inches between plants.

Zinnias are susceptible to powdery mildew and good plant spacing can help prevent that. If you initially plant the seeds too close together, you can try to gently move them as they grow taller.

Zinnias sprouting close by
Zinnias sprouting close by

Do you have any questions about what zinnia sprouts look like or identifying zinnia seedlings you find in the garden? Feel free to share tips or ask questions in the comments – we love hearing from you!

Happy Gardening!

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