If you are looking to make your garden friendly for pollinating insects, you may be wondering “are zinnias good for bees?” Planting the right things in your garden can make a big difference to the amount of insect activity that you see, and a bee garden is a thing of beauty.
Bees love zinnias of all kinds, and they are also popular with other pollinators like butterflies. Zinnias come in many different varieties, but bees don’t seem to be fussy, and will visit any zinnia, even red ones – despite the fact that red is not particularly attractive to bees.
What Is A Zinnia Flower?
Zinnias are bright flowers that are related to sunflowers and daisies. They tend to grow in South America and Mexico, but they will grow in the UK, and they form long stems with solitary flowers at the top.
They come in a range of hues and sizes, and UK bees love them. They enjoy sunlight, and they will grow quickly if planted in a good, sunny spot.
Their flowers may be red, lilac, purple, white, orange, or yellow, so there is a good range to choose from in terms of making them fit in with your garden.
Are Zinnias Annual Or Perennial?
Zinnias are sadly annual, but they are one of the best annual flowers for bees. You will need to seed them each year, as they are frost sensitive and will die back as soon as the weather starts to turn cold and frosty.
Are Zinnias Good For Bees?
Yes, zinnias are great for bees. They are particularly loved by the honey bee, but solitary bees will also visit them very readily, as will many types of bumblebees. Since solitary bees in particular are under threat in the UK, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have plenty of food for them.
You may also want to invest in a bee hotel that has space for solitary bees. Nesting sites are growing increasingly rare for all insects, but bees in particular will benefit from your protection and help. You can make your own bee hotels, or buy them and hang them in your garden. Whichever you choose to do, they will be used and appreciated!
Having lots of food will help, and since you can buy zinnias that are compact border flowers and zinnias all the way up to several feet tall, they are ideal for filling your garden with. They provide bees with a great source of food in the late summer and the early autumn.
When To Plant Zinnia Seeds
You don’t want to plant zinnias too early in the year, since they are not frost hardy, and you might lose your seeds if you put them out too soon. You can sow them as early as February if you have them in a heated propagator, but some people recommend waiting until March to ensure you get strong, vigorous plants.
If you want to sow them outdoors, you will need to wait until May to ensure that overnight temperatures are not so low that the plants die. Even a light frost could kill off vulnerable seedlings.
If you are planting your zinnias in pots, you can afford to place two of the seeds into a pot, but you may then want to thin out the weaker plant and discard it to ensure you get a really good selection of strong plants to move outside.
For those who would rather plant directly into the ground, it is best to make a straight trench, and then sow the seeds into it, working at around ten cm apart for each. This should ensure that the seeds have enough space to grow and spread their roots.
You can then lightly cover them with a good helping of compost and soil, and water them well. They should be kept moist until seedlings start to come up. When this happens and they each have a couple of leaves, thin out the weaker plants, leaving about thirty cm between them.
Can Zinnias Grow In Pots?
Yes, they can grow happily in pots. Choose compact varieties and deadhead them regularly for the best results. Plenty of flowers means plenty of food for the bees!
Don’t plant too many in a pot, or they will be overcrowded and may not look as good!
How Tall Do Zinnias Grow?
Zinnias range massively in height between varieties. Some only grow to a few cm tall, while the other varieties could reach as much as a meter in height. Make sure you check which kind you are buying and get the right height for the space you want to fill!
How Long Do Zinnia Blooms Last?
If you regularly deadhead your zinnias and they do not get exposed to frost, they should keep flowering for up to five months. This is one reason that they provide such great food for the bees; they are a consistent source of it!
Keep a pair of scissors handy, and regularly remove flowers that have finished to encourage the plant to grow new ones, extending the growing season. In general, they will only stop flowering when the first frost comes.
Will Zinnias Reseed Themselves?
Although zinnias do self seed, the seeds do not always come up true, and they will not survive a UK winter. You will have to gather the seed and keep it indoors over winter, and then replant the following spring.
Where To Buy Zinnias
You can buy zinnia seeds here; they offer a good variety, including a mix so you can enjoy a whole range of different hues in your garden.
Zinnias are a great, lasting way to make your garden bee friendly! They provide an excellent source of food for all kinds of pollinators, but you should be aware that you will have to reseed them each year, as they cannot overwinter in the UK.