The Foolproof Test To Tell Whether Your Zinnias Are Ready To Be Cut Or Not

As one of the most beginner-friendly flowers out there, zinnias are popular for good reason! Their long-lasting blooms — which come in rainbow varieties — make them go-to plants for everything from window boxes and porch planters to garden beds. Even better, they are drought-tolerant and require very little care. When growing zinnias, it's best to plant them in an area that receives lots of sunlight (around 6 to 8 hours). Although they are one of the hardiest flower varieties out there, the two things most likely to kill off your zinnias are cold weather and transplantation. With that in mind, only plant them when it's warm outside, preferably in well-drained soil, and transplant sparingly!

Assuming they are happy in the garden, your zinnias will thrive. Because they are annuals, they only grow for a single season, so you'll want to pick them often to get the most out of their beautiful blooms. The more you pick, the more they'll grow! And there's an easy way to determine when they're ready to be cut. As outlined by TikTok user @gardenofellie, use the "wiggle test." Place your hand around 8 inches down from the bloom. If the stem wiggles or droops when you shake it gently, it's not ready. If, however, the stem is firm and remains upright, the zinnia is ready to be harvested. It feels fitting that such a low-maintenance flower variety would have such a foolproof test to determine when it's ready to be cut.

Tips for harvesting and cutting zinnias

When choosing zinnias, experts recommend that you select the flowers that are still in the process of opening. Look for stems with tight clusters, which will continue to bloom after they're cut and placed in water. Before you pick any, give the wiggle test a go for yourself. A YouTuber demonstrated just how much these flowers wiggle when they're not ready. Expect your zinnias to really flop around before they've matured, and don't pick any except for the firmest stems. Cutting them before they're fully ready will see those zinnias go from floppy to limp in a matter of hours, so patience is key.

Before you pick your zinnias, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure an abundance of bright and healthy blooms. Zinnias can range from low-growing flowers to 3-foot-tall beauties, and if long stems are the goal, you can "pinch" them when they're young (around 8 to 12 inches). Pinching is a process by which you cut off the top 3 or so inches of the plant, encouraging the zinnia to grow multiple stems and more flowers. And like other flower varieties, zinnias benefit from deadheading, which is when you snip off the dead flower heads to stimulate new growth.

A "dirty" flower, zinnias are known to shed dirt and debris into their vase. You can mitigate this by adding a drop of bleach into the water. Enjoy those gorgeous blooms in vases or garden all summer long!