Thumblelina is a miniature or dwarf zinnia whose country of origin is Mexico. They are beautiful annual plant with bright pompom flowers that come in a wide range of colors and hues except for blue. If you want a dramatic focal point that bursts with color, plant some of these.
Thumbelina zinnias will bloom when they are only 3 inches tall. They will continue to flower throughout the summer and fall until the frost kills them. The semi-double or single flowers are 1 1/4 inches in diameter. The Thumbelina variety grows to a height of 6 inches, with a spread of 8 to 10 inches. This miniature flower variety works perfect when planted in low beds, borders, or in containers.
Some garden supply stores sell potted zinnias for a Mother’s day gift. You could easily surprise your mother by growing a pot of miniature zinnias yourself and giving them to her.
Start the seeds indoors, early in the spring about four to six weeks before the last expected frost date or Mother’s day if you are giving this as a gift.
Prepare the Pots
Gather enough peat pots so you can sow one seed in each pot. If you don’t have peat pots, you can use cell packs.
Fill the peat pots or cell packs with well-drained potting soil. I use the regular potting soil sold in the garden stores to start mine, but you can mix your own soil by combining equal amounts of compost, perlite, and peatmoss.
Moisten the Soil
Fill a tub with water until it is 2 inches deep. Place the pots or cell packs into the container, leaving them to soak until the soil is visibly moist. Remove the pots and place them on a drainage rack, so the excess water can drain away.
Sowing the Seeds
Some people plant 3 to 4 seeds per peat pot or two in each cell on the off chance that not all the seeds germinate. This is not what I do because I don’t like thinning my plants. I place one seed in the center of each pot or cell. Cover the seed lightly with finely sieved potting soil or vermiculite so it is about 1/8 inch deep.
Place the pots into an old cake pan or tray. This makes carrying the pots easier and protects the tabletop from any mess or water leakage.
Cover the pots with a sheet of plastic. This helps to provide a humid environment and maintain moisture. Find a warm location to set the pots. If you have a heat mat, simply set the temperature to 70° Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a heat mat, place the pots on the top of the refrigerator or freezer. There is usually enough heat that comes out the back to keep the soil at the right temperature.
Check the soil daily and mist it to keep it evenly moist, but not soggy. Do not allow the soil to dry out until the seeds have germinated. It can take two to seven days for the seeds to germinate.
Remove the plastic sheet when the seeds have spouted. Move the plants to a bright window or place them under grow lights. You need to keep the light levels high for these plants to grow well. If you notice that your plants look leggy, like they are reaching for the sun, move them to a brighter location. Turn the pots a half turn once a week to keep the plants growing straight instead of leaning toward the sun.
Transplant into prepared garden site after all danger of frost is past.