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Zinnias. Filling In The Gaps With Colour.

A huge bunch of Zinnias of all colours.Zinnias. A Rainbow Of Colour.

Zinnias are annuals which flower officially in summer, but with the number of cultivars available you're covered for spring into autumn.

They belong to the Aster family (Asteraceae). They are tough and resilient and are ideal for beginners - especially children - because you just can't get them wrong.  But they do like good, well-drained soil and plenty of water. However, they are forgiving and they will spring back to life if they have been left drooping from the occasional lack of water. 

They are not known for their perfume, which used to put me off them in the days when perfume ruled my garden. But they are known for their daisy-like appearance and their rainbow of colours ranging from white, yellow, orange, red, purple, lilac and even a brightish green. They come in singles and doubles and are a delight in council beddings on roundabouts and pathways. And of course they are a must have for containers.

There are officially about 20 different species, but there are now around 100 cultivars from these original plants. They attract hummingbirds and butterflies and even help defend against whitefly. They are, therefore, great companion plants. And on top of all that, they are deer-resistant. The most common and popular of them all is the Zinnia elegans.

Prairie fleurs rouges, Jardin Compans Caffarelli

Because they love the heat, they unfortunately will likely be the first to die when the colder weather arrives. If you know this in advance you can have some other plants on standby to take over. Chrysanthemums are ideal for this because they flower in autumn. You may notice that Zinnias look a lot like Chrysanthemums. That's because they belong to the same family, Asteraceae. Daisies and Gerberas are great examples of the 'secret' that all members of this family share. See what it is on the Daisy Flower page. Amazing!

If you want your Zinnias to flower as long as possible, just pick off the dead flowers when they appear. Just like roses, this will encourage them to put their energy into growing more blooms, rather than growing longer stems or more leaves. 

It's a good idea to just buy a packet of mixed seeds, sow them and see what comes up. You won't be disappointed!

Plant Tag:

  • Dwarf, Medium and tall (6" to 3 or 4 feet)
  • Attract Butterflies and Birds
  • Full sun
  • Plenty of water
  • Good soil
  • Ideal for hot, dry climates. In humid climates they tend to get powdery mildew
  • Best grown from seed
  • Dead head frequently to encourage more flowers
  • Liquid fertilizer before and during flowering period
  • Named after the 18th Century German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn
  • They make the best companion plants in your vegetable garden to ward off pests and help by attracting birds which kill unwanted insects and other plant pests
Beautiful yellow Zinnia grandiflora.

Z. grandiflora is a beautiful plant which is commonly called the Rocky Mountains Zinnia and the Plains Zinnia, and it is suited to dry climates. It grows to about 22 cms looking rather more like a shrub. Its stems branch outwards and its leaves are long and slender. It is considered to be rare, but seeds can be bought online and will grow if you live in the right place. Photo Credit: Stan Shebs.

Just as they come in a dazzling array of colours, so they also produce many different types of blooms, from a single daisy-like flower, to a dahlia-like flower. Below are some very striking types and colours.  Visit Renee's Garden to see some more spectacular types and colours.

List of popular types from Burpee:

  • Elegans
  • Zahara Double fire
  • Zahara Double Cherry
  • Zahara Bonfire Mix
  • Raspberry Lemon Mix
  • Uptown Grape
  • Pinwheel Mix
  • Profusion white Hybrid
  • Profusion Orange Hybrid

If you want to look out on a sea of Butterflies all season, plant the big hot pink and red ones which both Butterflies and Birds love. Sprinkle the seeds, water, wait and then watch what happens. These flowers are today's garden winners. In olden times they took rather a back seat in the garden, now they are in the front row.

Starr 030202-0031 Zinnia peruviana

Gorgeous Peruvian Type.


Beautiful red pom pom dahlia type. Z. elegans.

Beautiful creamy Zinnia alcerosa. The Desert Zinnia.

The sweet Z. acerosa (desert form).  Stan Shebs.

Zinnia July 2010-1

Hot Pink.

Zinnia elegans0

A creamy Z. elegans, clearly showing its special flower head (capitulum) which all members of the Aster family share.

Beautiful zinnia-cropped-big2

For those who like stripes.

More Zinnias (2323144463)

So sweet and simple.

The creamy Zinnia alcerosa bush (Desert Zinnia).

Another creamy acerosa (desert) form.  Stan Shebs.

Home. Return from Zinnias to Annual Plants.

"The Aster greets us as we pass

With her faint smile".

Sarah Helen Power Whitman.