Zinnia flowers are one of the most popular flowers in the world, and there are diverse types of them. They range from large to small and delicate. The flowers are found in a variety of colors, multi-colors, and hues. Zinnias come in every color but blue with the most popular ones being orange, pink, yellow, and white.
Zinnias are native to Mexico, the Spanish referred to the zinnia as “mal de ojos” (which translates as sickness of the eyes), thinking it a small and unattractive flower. It actually received its name from a German medical professor named Johann Gottfried Zinn, who provided the first written description of the flower.
They are grown in gardens as they have a long blooming season. Zinnias are easy to grow in a variety of conditions. They also require limited maintenance, so they are perfect for those who want to grow flowers but do not have time to spend on them, and they are drought tolerant. Zinnias' showy blooms last all summer without fading. Allow the seed heads to dry on the plants, then remove and collect the seeds for the next season.
There are about one hundred species in the genus Zinnia. Besides being found in assorted colors, they also have many different forms such as single, semi-double, or double flowers, striped or plain petals, and long or short stems. There are species grown for their showy flowers while others are grown for their edible fruit or leaves used as spices.
Here are five of our favorite types of Zinnias:
Zinnia Elegans – Zinnia elegans is the most popular type of zinnia planted. It is also known as Common Zinnia and is the easiest one to find in your local nursery. They grow one to three feet tall on upright, hairy stems. These zinnias are bushy, leafy annuals. They continuously bloom throughout the season. These flowers add an explosion of color to any garden. With its long and strong stems, it makes a wonderful cut flower. Although Zinnia Elegans plants can be grown in most hardiness zones during the summer, there might be issues if you live in an area with cold and wet summers as powdery mildew can form on the leaves.
Zinnia Angustifolia – Zinnia Angustifolia is also known as Narrowleaf Zinnia or Creeping Zinnia. This type of zinnia is compact and bushy. They grow 8-16 inches tall and spread up to about a foot. This plant has smooth thin-leafed foliage. They have daisy-like flowers that attract pollinators. The blooms are found in bright orange, yellow, white, red, and pink. They will fill your garden with flowers from summer to frost. This low-maintenance zinnia makes an excellent ground cover. Try them as a border or around your patio in containers or hanging baskets. They are a great wild garden plant as their blooms attract butterflies and other pollinators. While deadheading is not necessary it can aid in producing new blooms.
Zahara Zinnia – Zahara Zinnia is considered a landscape-type of zinnia which was developed from hybridization between old cut flower type of zinnias and narrowleaf zinnias. The plant grows 14-18 inches tall and will bloom from planting until the first frost. The flowers come in single and double flowers and the flowers are larger than their competition. They are also known for their resistance to powdery mildew and leaf spot. The flower colors include fire, cherry, red, yellow, white, coral rose, starlight rose, raspberry, and scarlet. They also come in a formula mix of all these colors, a Bonfire mix of bright colors, and a Raspberry Lemonade blend.
Profusion Zinnia – Profusion Zinnia also falls under the landscape-type zinnia. This variety is resistant to powdery mildew. The Profusion and Zahara Zinnias are also self-cleaning, so you do not need to deadhead them. The flowers on this zinnia are small (2-inches wide) but they bloom abundantly. They grow eighteen inches tall and spread about twenty-four inches. Profusion zinnias are available in orange, white, yellow, cherry, coral pink, apricot, deep apricot, and fire in both single and double flower forms. You can buy Profusion zinnias as a three-, five- or seven-color mix or in a mix called Sunrise. The Profusion Orange, Profusion Cherry and Profusion White varieties are all All-America Selections winners. They look great in flower beds, as borders, or in a large container.
Peruvian Zinnia – Peruvian Zinnia is a South American native wildflower that grows up to three feet tall. It did not become a popular garden plant until late in the nineteenth century. The flowers are smaller and more delicate than a typical zinnia. It is a fast-growing upright annual with simple, stunning small daisy-like flowers that are one inch in diameter. The flowers come in various shades of pink, orange, red and yellow. While the flowers are not as showy as other zinnias, the butterflies and other pollinators still love them. This flower is a terrific addition to a cottage garden.
Let us know if you have a favorite type of Zinnia you grow!
Zahara Zinnia photo courtesy of Jill Mazur.