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Plant Spotlight: Zinnia

Updated on November 15, 2016
LisaRoppolo profile image

Lisa is a writer and gardener with extensive knowledge of plants and plant care. Her articles focus on easy-care tips for home gardeners.

Zinnia-Profusion Double Cherry
Zinnia-Profusion Double Cherry | Source

Colorful Blooms and Super Easy!

Zinnia are a great annual plant used in a variety of applications in the home garden. They are continuous bloomers that require minimal care and their showy flowers attract butterflies and beneficial insects.

Zinnia Specifications

Type: Annual

Zones: 3 to 10

Soil Requirements: Any type, but prefer a Ph of anywhere from 5.5 to 7.5

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Moisture Requirements: Moderate

Bloom Time: Summer through the first frost

Bloom Colors: Red, White, Pink, Yellow, Orange, Lime Green, Purple, Multi-colored

Zinnia do the best sown in their permanent location. They do not tolerate being transplanted well.

Zinnia-Purple Prince
Zinnia-Purple Prince | Source

How to Grow Zinnia from Seed

Zinnia are super easy to grow from seed!

  • Sow the seed outside 1/4 of an inch deep after danger of frost has passed in your area. For Zone 5, this is typically around Mother's Day.
  • Space them 4 inches to 24 inches apart depending on the variety.
  • Germination does best in temperatures of about 70 degrees and above.
  • Germination typically takes place in about 7 days.
  • You will get your first flowers about 60 days after starting from seed.

Zinnia-Profusion White
Zinnia-Profusion White | Source
Zinnia Giant in White
Zinnia Giant in White | Source

Zinnia Varieties

There are several varieties of Zinnia available on the market today:

  • Single-Flowered
  • Double-Flowered also called Dahlia
  • Globe
  • Cactus
  • Mexican, which is an heirloom variety

Check out the chart below for specifications of each of these types of Zinnia!

Zinnia by Type

Mature Height
Mature Spread
Market Brand Names
Single petals surrounding a center eye
12 inches to 18 inches
10 inches to 12 inches
Starlight varieties, Profusion varieties
Containers, borders
Double-Flowered aka Dahlia
double, compact flower heads, looks like a Dahlia hence the name
36 inches
12 inches to 14 inches
Giant Mix varieties, Queen varieties
Back of the border, good cut flower
Small button-mum like blooms with compact heads
24 inches to 30 inches
8 inches to 10 inches
Cut and Come Again, Thumbelina varieties
Middle of the border, containers, good cut flower
Flowers have a pointly "quilled" look
20 inches to 24 inches
8 inches to 10 inches
Raggedy Ann varieties
containers, borders, interesting specimen plant
Narrow leaved and daisy like in bright reds and yellows
12 inches to 18 inches
8 inches to 10 inches
Old Mexico, Jazzy Mix varieties
Containers, front of the border
Zinnia-Cut and Come Again
Zinnia-Cut and Come Again | Source

Zinnia Care

Because of their sturdy, upright growing habit, Zinnia never need staking. They do occasionally need to be deadheaded, which encourages them to bloom more.

Giant Zinnia in Lavender
Giant Zinnia in Lavender | Source

Helpful Tip:

For faster growth, incorporate some compost into your soil mix!

Good Zinnia Planting Companions

  • Cosmos
  • Liatris
  • Coneflowers
  • Black-eyed Susans
  • Grasses
  • Roses

Zinnias are also beneficial in the vegetable garden! Plant near cucumbers to deter cucumber beetles or near tomatoes to deter tomato horn worms! Because of their upright habit, Zinnia can provide a good climbing surface for pole beans or peas as well.


A Reliable Flower

If you haven't included Zinnia in your garden plan, I encourage you to give them a try! They make a great cut flower for a vase or bouquet. While they aren't considered a "culinary" flower, they are non-toxic, which is great for a children's garden. They are also non-toxic to your fur babies (dogs and cats) as well!

Zinnia large mixed colors
Zinnia large mixed colors | Source

© 2015 Lisa Roppolo


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