Zinnias - Colorful and Easy to Grow Zinnia Plants

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    Zinnia 'Royal Purple'

    Zinnia 'Royal Purple'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Royal Purple' 1942 AAS Winner. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    Easy to Grow Annual Flowers

    Most gardeners are familiar with zinnias. They are an easy growing annual flower that comes in a wide range of colors, from flaming reds and oranges to pastel pinks and greens. There are more than a dozen species of zinnias. Many are available in nurseries, as plants, and even more are available as seed.

    In the following pages, some of the best zinnia plants are featured. Many have won All America Selection awards, for their ease of growing and pest resistance. All...MORE bloom profusely and make wonderful accents in borders and containers, as well as great cut flowers.

    Photo have been provided by the National Garden Bureau, which has declared 2011 The Year of the Zinnia.

    Tips for growing zinnias

    Single to fluffy double flowers top these tall (36--40 inch) plants. 'Royal Purple' blooms in shades from lilac to a deep, dark purple, changing shades slightly as it ages. These are quick growers, flowering within a couple of months from seeding. As with most zinnias, some pinching while young will keep the plants stocky and full, although perhaps a little shorter. Keep them deadheaded, for flowering all season.

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  • 02 of 19

    Zinnia 'Old Mexico'

    Zinnia 'Old Mexico'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Old Mexico' 1962 AAS Winner. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    Zinnia 'Old Mexico' is an old zinnia, but it has lost none of its charm. This zinnia species (Zinnia haageana) is a compact grower. The plants are about 1--1 1/2 inches tall, but they hold up doule and semi-double flowers that are up to 2 1/2 inches across.

    These are the traditional zinnia colors or gold and mahogany, with a rusty center cone that elongates as the flowers age. 'Old Mexico' was the 1962 All American Selection and is considered an heirloom flower.

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  • 03 of 19

    Zinnia 'Thumbelina'

    Zinnia 'Thumbelina'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Thumbelina' 1963 AAS Winner. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    'Thumbelina' is billed as a dwarf zinnia that is only supposed to grow to 6 inches tall, but many gardeners report it tops out at a good 3 feet. I'm guessing someone has been "improving" the seed over the years. Whatever the height, the button-sized flowers (1 1/2 inches across) bloom in a multitude of bright, charming colors including: red, yellow, orange, white, lavender, salmon and rosy pink. The flowers persist for a long time, but deadheading or even shearing, will keep...MORE the in bloom all summer.

    The full, bushy plants can be prone to aphids, so be sure to plant them in an open spot, with lots of air circulation.

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  • 04 of 19

    Zinnia 'Peter Pan Cream'

    Zinnia 'Peter Pan Cream'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Peter Pan Cream' 1978 AAS Winner. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    The 'Peter Pan' series of zinnias is one of the fastest to start blooming, often only 6 weeks from seed. These 1978 All American Selection come in lots of cheery bright colors as well as this gentle cream. 'Cream' varies from milky white to buff. The flowers are double to semi-double and about 3-- 3 1/2 inches across and the compact plants only reach a height of about 1 foot tall.

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  • 05 of 19

    Zinnia 'Yellow Ruffles'

    Zinnia 'Yellow Ruffles'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Yellow Ruffles' 1978 AAS Winner. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    The 'Ruffles' series is known for it's glowing shades of soft colors and fluffy color of double petals that look - ruffled. Besides this bright, buttery yellow, there are Ruffles in pink, white and peach.

    Zinnias are fast growers and can be repeat sown in mid-summer, to have fresh new plants blooming into the fall.

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  • 06 of 19

    Zinnia 'Red Sun'

    Zinnia 'Red Sun'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Red Sun' 1978 AAS Winner. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    I had a hard time finding this 1978 All America Selection, but it's worth looking for. The flowers are huge pom-poms; fully double and 4--5 inches across. The glowing red color stays bright, as the flowers age, but keep deadheading for season long bloom. Plants reach a height of 2--3 feet tall, but a little pinching back will keep them from getting top heavy and flopping and needing staking.

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  • 07 of 19

    Zinnia 'Peter Pan Flame'

    Zinnia 'Peter Pan Flame'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Peter Pan Flame' 1980 AAS Winner. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    Zinnia Peter Pan 'Flame' was a 1980 All American Selection. It shares all the great features of Peter Pan 'Cream' and is a great example of the brilliant colors zinnias are capable of delivering. 'Flame' looks a bit like a stawflower, but the petals are not dry and stiff.

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  • 08 of 19

    Zinnia Giant Double Mix

    Zinnia 'Giant Double' Mix
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Giant Double' Mix. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    The Giant in Giant Double refers to the size of the flowers, which can be 4--5 inches across. You will generally find these in a mix of colors, all with dahlia-like blossoms. The plants grow to about 2 feet tall and will benefit from both pinching and deadheading. This is an older series of zinnia and can be prone to powdery mildew

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  • 09 of 19

    Zinnia 'Magellan Coral'

    Zinnia 'Magellan Coral'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Magellan Coral' 2005 AAS Winner. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    This 2005 All American Selection grows in a compact clump that hits a height of about 1--1 1/2 feet tall. It is covered with dahlia-like pom pom flowers in a dusky coral. Although deadheading will keep new buds forming, it isn't really necessary. New foliage is continually emerging, keeping the plant's tidy habit and prolonging the bloom period.

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  • 10 of 19

    Zinnia 'Queen Lime'

    Zinnia 'Queen Lime'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Queen Lime'. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    Green flowers can get lost in the garden, but 'Queen Lime' has big fluffy flowers that have so many shades of green in them, they are as much about texture as color. Pinching makes for a bushy, well-branched plant. that will flower throughout the summer. 'Queen Lime' can get as tall as 50 inches, with flowers up to 3 inches across.

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  • 11 of 19

    Zinnia 'Queen Red Lime'

    Zinnia 'Queen Red Lime'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Queen Red Lime'. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    An occasional single bloom might find its way into the semi to fully double flowers of Queen Red Lime (Zinnia elegans), making the mix of colors even more interesting. The outer petals are a soft maroon and they get paler and paler as they move toward the time colored center petals. It looks almost papery and somewhat Victorian. This is a fairly tall plant topping out at 40--50 inches.

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  • 12 of 19

    Zinnia 'Crystal White'

    Zinnia 'Crystal White'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Crystal White' 1997 AAS Winner. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    Zinnia 'Crystal White' helped put zinnias back on the gardening map. 'Crystal White' was a 1997 All American Selection for its gentle color and eruption of blooms. Being in the Zinnia haageana species, it has a compact habit and small, half-inch blooms, but many, many of them. 'Crystal White' will happily bloom all summer, but it benefits from a mid-seasonshearing, to freshen the whole plant. Don't worry, it will recover within days.

    'Chrystal White' grows in...MORE dense plants that grow to about one foot tall and exhibit very good powdery mildew resistance.

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  • 13 of 19

    Profusion Zinnias

    Zinnia Profusion
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia Profusion 5 Color Mix. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    The Profusion series was an instant hit in the gardening world. These were the first zinnias to truly resist powdery mildew. The flower are delicate, only an inch or so across, but as the name hits, there are many of them. Actually the whole plant is delicate looking, but don't be deceived. These plants will bloom non-stop all summer. I would recommend giving them a shearing mid-season, to refresh the whole plant. deadheading so many small flowers become impractical.

    As you can see, Profusion...MORE zinnias are an excellent choice for containers. They are both compact and drought tolerant. But they are just as happy spilling over in a border.

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  • 14 of 19

    Zinnia 'Profusion Yellow'

    Zinnia 'Profusion Yellow'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Profusion Yellow'. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    Profusion 'Yellow' has the clean, green foliage you expect from the Profusion series. The golden yellow flowers almost look like a coreopsis. The blooms are about 2" across and cover the bushy, stocky plants. The plants themselves only get about 12" high and make a great front of border choice or a nice addition to containers.

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  • 15 of 19

    Zinnia 'Zowie Yellow Flame' AAS Winner 2006

    Zinnia 'Zowie Yellow Flame'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Zowie Yellow Flame' 2006 All America Selection. Photo Provided by the National Garden Bureau (www.ngb.org)

    That's quite the name, no? 'Zowie Yellow Flame' lives up to expectations. The flowers are bold in what first appears to be old-fashioned zinnia colors. The flowers actually start off a kind of magenta-pink and darken as they age to a ruby-rose, only to end their time on the plant yellow and red. Zowie!

    Flowers are about 3 inches across, blooming on plants about 2 feet tall. Minimal pinching is needed to keep the plants full, but deadheading will keep them producing more and more...MORE flowers.

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  • 16 of 19

    Zinnia Zahara 'Raspberry Lemonade'

    Zinnia Zahara 'Raspberry Lemonade'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia Zahara 'Raspberry Lemonade'. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    The Zahara series is the biggest thing to happen in zinnia breeding since Profusion. powdery mildew resistant, drought tolerant, profuse blooming and even larger flowers than Profusion zinnias. This is a great series of plants. 'Raspberry Lemonade' is a yummy mix of lemon yellow and berry pink with some 'Starlight Rose' mixed in.

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    Zinnia Zahara 'Starlight Rose'

    Zinnia Zahara 'Starlight Rose'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia Zahara 'Starlight Rose' 2010 AAS Winner. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    We just saw the Zahara 'Raspberry Lemonade' mix. Well, here's the 2010 All America Selection'Starlight Rose', on its own. This is the first bicolor rose and white zinnia. I'm always reminded of a coreopsis, when I see it, but the larger flowers (2 1/2 inches across) give it away.

    As with all the Zahara series, 'Starlight Rose' is extremely powdery mildew resistant.

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  • 18 of 19

    Zinnia 'Double Zahara Cherry' and 'Double Zahara Fire'

    Zinnia 'Double Zahara Cherry' and 'Double Zahara Fire'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia 'Double Zahara Cherry' and 'Double Zahara Fire' 2010 AAS Winners. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    Two more 2010 All America Sections from the Zahara zinnia series really point out the vividness of the colors. Can you imagine a mass planting of 'Double Zahara Cherry' and 'Double Zahara Fire'? You could see it for miles. It would probably glow at night.

    If you love cut flowers, the Zahara zinnias are an excellent choice, blooming repeatedly and holding their color.

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  • 19 of 19

    Zinnia Zahara 'White'

    Zinnia Zahara 'White'
    Zinnia Plants - Dozens of Zinnia Varieties to Choose Zinnia Zahara 'White'. Photo Provided by The National Garden Bureau (http://www.ngb.org)

    If you loved zinnia Profusion 'White', take a look at Zahara 'White'. Zahara is a recently introduced zinnia series and the the Profusion zinnias, it is powdery mildew resistant and a profuse bloomer. Plus Zahara zinnia flowers are about 20% larger. The petals of 'White' are clear and glowing white surrounding the familiar gold center.

    Tips for Growing Zinnias