By this time of the year the zinnias in my gardens have, in large part ceased blooming. While there are scattered colorful blossoms here and there, most of my once beautiful flowers and plants have been nipped by an early frost. All that remains of the zinnias are brown stalks and the withered remains of the flowers they once displayed to hungry pollinators.
When each of us is faced with this situation, we must decide if we should go ahead and cut or otherwise remove the drab remains of these garden favorites. Many gardeners immediately remove the dead plants in an attempt to beautify their garden. However, I am one of those backyard gardeners that leave the plants standing.
This is done because I realize that a number of birds dine on zinnia seeds. Here is a list of some of the birds that eat the seeds of dead zinnias: American goldfinch, chipping sparrow, house finch, purple finch, cardinals and pine siskins.
I keep an eye on this unorthodox food source and remove the dead plants only after the birds have extracted all of the seeds they harbor. When this occurs varies from year to year.
DEAD ZINNIA SEED HEADS
With that in mind, I hope you will refrain from rushing out and removing your zinnia plants as soon as they are killed by cold weather. If you leave them, you just may catch a glimpse of a bird feeding on the seeds located in the withered remains of the past summer’s zinnia blossoms. If you do, you might find the dead zinnias not as unattractive after all.
Good information, Terry. I started doing that several years ago.
Great advice, Terry! Anything to help our dear birds!
On something unrelated—II found exciting (and related to your post about the cicada killer bees/cicadas): I ran across some beautiful close-up photographs of cicadas taken by a local photographer who is fascinated by them! She lives in Decatur—and I have reached out to her to see about sharing a few photos in her wonderful collection with you! Fingers crossed!
Thanks ever so much.