The Mystery of the Zinnia Transplants

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I planted a bunch of zinnias back in early February growing them indoors under a grow lamp setup. About a week ago I moved them outside to a shady spot, and after a week they were looking pretty good, and since the last freeze date just passed I thought I’d plant them in their new homes in my garden beds. I planted them in the late afternoon, added a bit of liquid root stimulator and watered them in. Imagine my surprise the next afternoon when I came out to check on them and all 20-30 of them (save for one) were wilted and dead looking. To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement but where in the heck did I go wrong so it doesn’t happen again? After two days in the sun and with me continuing to give a bit of water they are still wilted looking- but not crunchy, which seems odd to me. Does anyone have any ideas? I don’t think a plant can survive once this happens to their leaves, right? Pictures attached.
 

alp

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Zinnias like it sunny and hot. Mine any way!
 
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Welcome to the forum @DamonM . :)

Oh dear they do look poorly:(

Not sure why though,as @alp said ,over here they thrive in hot and sunny garden areas.
I grow them every year and never have such problems. The only thing I would suggest is that they do look a bit small ,I grow mine on more so that I plant out larger/stronger plants which are more able to cope with the elements.
Also I have never added root stimulators....in fact I don't add anything!(y)
 
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Good advice all around. I was hoping to get a jump on spring by planting early. Maybe I need to do something to encourage root development earlier in to give them a better start like a different grow bulb that radiates only a vegetative growth range of light. Some were starting to flower when I put them out, perhaps they didn’t have enough root strength to support everything. Thanks for the advice!!
 
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My grandfather has grown the tall zinnias for years.
Your transplants should be much bigger before they are planted outdoors.
 

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