Longtime favorites for colorful, round flowers, typically in summer and early fall. Butterflies love them. These are hot-weather plants that don't gain from being planted early; they stand still until weather warms up. Subject to mildew in humid places, if given overhead water, and when autumn brings longer nights, more dew and shade. Moderately resistant to damage by browsing deer. Sow seeds where plants are to grow (or set out nursery plants) from late spring to early summer. Give good garden soil, feed generously. Most garden zinnias belong to Zinnia elegans.
- Zones MS, LS, CS; USDA 7-9.
- From southern Arizona, Texas, Mexico.
- To 610 inches high, 2 feet wide, with hairy, needlelike, 34 inches-long leaves.
- Flowers are 112 inches wide, with fairly large, creamy white rays veined in green on underside.
- Blooms sporadically from spring through fall, whenever moisture is present; goes dormant during extended periods of drought.
- One of the best annuals for the South; does not get mildew.
- Compact growth to 16 inches high and wide, with very narrow leaves to 212 inches long.
- Orange, 1 inches flowers; each ray has a paler stripe.
- Blooms in six weeks from seed, continues late into fall.
- Classic grows to 1 feet high and 2 feet wide, has 112 inches flowers.
- Crystal White, 810 inches high and 1 feet wide, bears 1 inches single flowers in pure white.
- The Star series, also to 1 by 2 feet., has 2 inches blooms in orange, golden yellow, and white
- From Mexico.
- Sold in strains ranging from less than a foot high and wide to 4 feet tall, half as wide.
- Oval to lance-shaped leaves to 5 inches long; summer flowers from less than 1 inches to as much as 57 inches across.
- Forms include full double, cactus flowered (with quilled rays), and crested (cushionlike center surrounded by rows of broad rays); the many colors available include white, pink, salmon, rose, red, yellow, orange, lavender, and purple.
- Envy is a novelty type with lime-green flowers.
Among smaller strains (to about 1 feet.) for edging or foreground are Dasher, very quick to bloom; bushy Dreamland; and large-flowered Magellan and Peter Pan. Mildew-resistant Small World grows just 6 inches tall. All have 3 inches blooms.
Intermediate types include 18 inches-tall Candy Cane, with white or gold flowers heavily speckled with pink, rose, and cherry; 18- to 20 inches Sunbow, with fully double, 112 inches flowers; 112- to 2 feet.-tall Lilliput mix, with 2 inches pompons in red, pink, yellow, lavender, and white; 2 feet-tall Candy Stripe Mix, with 4 inches white flowers striped with pink, rose, or red; 2- to 212 feet Sun hybrids, with 5 inches flowers; 212- to 3 feet Ruffles hybrids, 312 inches blossoms with ruffled rays; and 3 feet Giant Cactus-flowered Mix, with 4- to 5 inches semidouble blooms.
Tall plants for cutting and back-of-border planting include 4 feet Benary's Giants (also sold as Park's Picks, Blue Point) and 3 feet, double-blossomed Dahlia-Flowered Mix; both have 4- to 5 inches blooms. 'Big Red Hybrid', to 3 feet., has bright red, 5- to 6 inches flowers. State Fair Mix, also to 3 feet tall, has 5- to 6 inches double flowers in red, orange, purple, yellow, and pink. 'Zowie! Yellow Flame' is a bicolored selection with rose centers and yellow tips; 24- to 36 inches tall.
rocky mountain zinnia
- Perennial in Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11; annual elsewhere.
- Native to Rocky Mountains, south into Mexico.
- To 1 feet high and wide.
- Bright green leaves to 1 inches long, 18 inches wide.
- Spring-into-fall flowers are 112 inches wide, bright yellow with orange eye.
- Survives with no supplemental moisture but needs regular water to bloom satisfactorily.
- From southeastern U.S., Mexico.
- To 2 feet tall, 1 feet wide.
- Narrow, 3 inches leaves.
- Persian Carpet (1 feet tall) and Old Mexico (16 inches tall) have double blossoms in yellow, orange, and mahogany-red, with all three colors usually mixed in the same flower.
- Long summer bloom season.
- These mildew-resistant selections originated with a cross between Zinnia angustifolia and Zinnia elegans.
- Plants grow 1112 feet high and wide, with 212-to 312 inches flower heads.
- Pinwheel series has large single flowers in red, orange, and yellow.
- Profusion series includes single cherry, orange, and white flowers.
- Large-flowered Zahara series includes an ever-expanding range of colors; 'Zahara Starlight Rose' is a favorite, with double white flowers centrally marked in deep rose.
peruvian zin- nia
- Native from southern U.S. to Argentina.
- Grows to 3 feet tall and as wide; leaves to 3 inches long, 114 inches wide.
- In summer, bears profuse, 112 inches flowers in brick-red or soft gold.
- Blossoms dry well for arrangements, either in a vase or on the plant.
- Also called Bonita zinnia or Zinnia pauciflora.