Zinnia, an Underappreciated Annual Flower

by pawpaw

I never could understand why more people don't grow Zinnias. Growing up, we always had them. They have so much going for them. Hardy, many varieties, heat tolerant, and beautiful.

Here I will showcase many varieties of Zinnias. In my opinion, they are one of the most underappreciated annuals around. They come in a multitude of colors and sizes. They are so easy to grow, that even novice gardeners can have success. You can even work them into a perennial flower bed, for added color.
One thing that makes them so versatile, is the fact that some varieties grow not much bigger than six inches, and some grow to be several feet tall. You can have two varieties in your flower garden....a short one in the front, and a tall one in the back.
If you are looking for an easy to grow annual flower, the Zinnia would be one of my top picks.
Photo: Image

The Versatility of Zinnias

Looking for a low growing flower, with small flowers. Think Zinnia.

Looking for a very tall growing flower, with huge flowers. Think Zinnia.

Zinnias range from the Thumbelina Zinnia, that grows to only about 6 inches or so tall, with flowers only about an inch across, to the Giant Zinnias, that can grow over 4 feet tall, and have flowers that can be 6 inches across.

Butterflies Love Them

If you are thinking of starting a butterfly garden, or would just like to have a few more of them, Zinnias are a good choice for attracting butterflies. Hummingbirds might pay a visit to them occasionally too.

Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Feeding on Flower, Louisville, Kentucky
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Monarch Butterfly on Zinnia
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Thumbelina Zinnias

Lets start on the small end of the scale. These are so small, that they can easily be grown in containers, which means even people in apartments could enjoy them, with enough lighting. Would work in a container on your deck or patio. 

They also work well, in small space flower beds. They can be used up front in your flower beds, because of their short height. 

100 Seeds, Zinnia "Thumbelina Mixture" (Zinnia elegans) Seeds By Seed Needs

All America Winner! The compact dome-shaped plants start to bloom when only 3" tall. Semi-double and single 1 ¼" flowers are excellent for pots, low beds and edging from mid-sum...

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Zinnia Thumbelina Seeds

'Thumbelina' has petite 1.5" flowers in a wide range of colors including white, pink, salmon, rose, red, yellow, orange, lavender, and purple. These charming extra dwarf Zinnias...

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Burpee 44651 Zinnia Thumbelina Mix Seed Packet

All America Winner! The compact dome-shaped plants start to bloom when only 3" tall. Semi-double and single 1 ¼" flowers are excellent for pots, low beds and edging from mid-sum...

View on Amazon

Fancy Varieties of Zinnia

Like any flower, people have been working on trying to produce new and exciting varieties for many years. They have some up with some real gorgeous ones. 

Some have flowers that have multiple colored blooms. Some even have some flower petals that are uniquely shaped. One variety I like are the candy striped ones. 

Giant Zinnias

The Giant Zinnias, are perfect for the back of a flower bed, because they grow so tall. Some can grow over 4 feet tall. They also have large flowers, with some being 4 to 6 inches across. They can usually be found in individual colors, or in packets of mixed colors. 

One great thing about them, is that they produce lots of flowers, so you can have a fresh bouquet of flowers in a vase to enjoy often. 

Updated: 08/20/2013, pawpaw
 
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pawpaw on 05/01/2013

I can almost picture that in my mind.

dustytoes on 05/01/2013

My grandfather always had bunches of zinnias growing in his huge, combo veggie and flower garden.

pawpaw on 04/30/2013

I love peonies too, but I think if I was running the state of Indiana, I would have stayed with Zinnias.

kimbesa on 04/30/2013

We usually have some. They are very easy to grow. The former state flower of Indiana, until it was replaced by the peony. Not sure why.

pawpaw on 04/30/2013

Glad you liked them. I'm going to give them a go this year....maybe some new types.

pawpaw on 04/30/2013

Thanks for sharing that story of a very special memory. My mother planted Zinnias every year, until she was unable.

Robert Kempster on 04/30/2013

Wow! They are indeed very pretty flowers, the truth is I have seen them before but I never knew they were called Zinnias. The color variety is impressive, Thanks for sharing.

belinda342 on 04/30/2013

You've brought me back some very fond memories of my very first flower garden. Mom appointed me a little patch of her garden and a packet of Zinnia seeds. I love all the bright and vibrant colors! And they actually managed to survive and thrive even thru my very novice attempts at gardening.

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