This bright-blossomed and heat-resistant Mexican native is not really a zinnia, but it looks enough like one to fool most people. Grows only 46 in. high but spreads or trails to 112 ft. or wider. Leaves are like miniature (to 2-in.-long) zinnia leaves. Flowers are nearly 1 in. wide, with vivid yellow or orange rays around a dark purple-brown center. Blooms from midsummer until frost. The Tsavo strain has single or double yellow flowers. Popular selections include 'Mandarin Orange', 'Sprite Orange', and double-flowered 'Gold Braid'. 'Sunbini' is a mounding selection with yellow blooms.
Needs good drainage. Sow seeds or set out nursery transplants in spring (creeping zinnia resents transplanting, so sow where plants are to grow). Use in borders or edgings, as annual cover for slope or bank; or plant in hanging baskets or pots.