Zinnias are brightly coloured flowers belonging to the Asteraceae family, where other members include asters, daisies, and sunflowers. It is a hot-climate plant native to South America and southwestern United States.
Flowers vary in size, with diameters ranging from one inch to seven inches. They also vary in form; they might have a single, semi-double or double layers of petals.
Zinnias are popular fresh cut flowers and are valued for their long stems and brightly-coloured blooms. Cut flowers should last at least a week before they start looking tired. These daisy-like flowers are available in a wide range of bright colours, including white, yellow, orange, red, purple and lilac. Zinnias can also be dried and used in floral arrangements.
Zinnias are a favourite for gardeners because they are one of the easiest flowers to grow! They are perfect for a cutting garden. They will bloom from early summer to early fall. The bright colours are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Some gardeners will grow these flowers specifically for that very reason. For the best visual effect, plant in masses. The taller varieties make great borders and edging, while smaller zinnias do well in window boxes, hanging boxes and other containers.
Zinnias do best in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. They are commonly grown from seed. Zinnias will reseed themselves if not deadheaded. Deadhead to increase blooms.
Climate zones: 3-10
Fun flower facts about the zinnia:
- The zinnia was named after the German botanist, Johann Gottfried Zinn, who wrote the first description of the flower.
- In the language of flowers, zinnias represent friendship, specifically thoughts of an absent friend.
- Believe it or not, there was a time when zinnias were considered small and ugly! When the Spanish first saw the flower in Mexico, they named it “mal de ojos” or sickness of the eye.
- When zinnias were first introduced to Europeans, they were known as “poorhouse flower” and “everybody’s flower” because zinnias were so common and easy to grow.
- Zinnias are known as “cut and come again” flowers. Cut one flower above a pair of leaves and within a few days two new stems with flower buds will emerge!
- From 1931 – 1957, the zinnia was the state flower of Indiana, USA.
- Dwarf zinnias can be as short as 10 inches tall, while the giants can grow to be 4 feet tall!
- Zinnias were once called “youth and old age” because old blooms stay fresh as new blooms open.