New Landscape Plant Feature: Profusion Zinnias
Profusion series of zinnias are rapidly gaining popularity among home gardeners and landscape professionals. These zinnias can be considered a landscape zinnia. They are hybrids between old cut flower-type zinnias and the Mexican or narrowleaf zinnias. Flower and foliage are smaller than the old cut flower-type zinnias but larger than the narrowleaf zinnias. They are also a great improvement over the Dreamland and Peter Pan zinnias, which have been the primary zinnias used the last 10 years for landscape plantings.
Profusion zinnias are available in five colors. Profusion White, Orange and Cherry have been around a few years; Profusion Fire and Profusion Apricot were introduced in 2004. White, orange and cherry are all All-America Selection winners. Profusion White and Profusion Orange were recognized as outstanding plants for Louisiana under the old Louisiana Select program for their superior landscape performance. The orange flowers of Profusion Orange start out very bright and gradually fade with age. The bright white flowers of Profusion White fade to creamy white. The reddish flowers of Profusion Cherry fade to an off color red and pink. Profusion Fire and Profusion Apricot have the most colorful flowers in the series. Fire has reddish-orange flowers and Apricot has light orange to peach flowers. Flower color holds up well on these two varieties. In our LSU AgCenter bedding plant trials, Profusion Orange, Profusion Fire and Profusion Apricot have been the better performers.
Ideal planting dates in the spring for zinnias would be early April in south Louisiana and mid April in central and north Louisiana. You can continue to plant zinnias later in the year; they make a nice late summer planting for plentiful fall flowers. A full sun location is best. Old flowers can be pinched off to encourage more continual bloom, but Profusion zinnias stay in flower much better and longer than other zinnias.
Powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases (caused by fungus and bacteria) are sometimes a problem on zinnias but are less prone to damage the Profusion type. Zinnias will perform best in drier years. Also, it is important to note that a well- drained bed is preferred, and irrigation does not need to be often. Zinnias are remarkably drought tolerant.
New Profusion zinnias arrive this spring
Fri, Jan. 26, 2007
The Profusion zinnias will continue to be hot in 2007. I had the oddest feeling when I visited Sakata Seed in California last April. We were in the middle of our 2006 Mississippi Medallion program promoting the truly outstanding
There I was on the West Coast, looking at the newest or improved version of none other than our Mississippi Medallion, Profusion Apricot, which is nowcalled Profusion Deep Apricot. Even though we were promoting it back home, I was delighted to see it had already been improved.
Gardeners will like it even better than the original Profusion Apricot. It is a rich apricot color that will sizzle in the hot summer garden.
There are other new Profusion zinnias that will hit the market this spring. One is Profusion Coral Pink. It looks just as its name suggests, possibly with more emphasis on the pink than the coral. There is also a new Profusion Double Cherry. It has the cherry red of the original but is double petaled.
Profusion Knee High zinnias may generate the real excitement. Available in red and white, these zinnias looked so good that Ball Seed Co. bought the seeds and rights from Sakata.
Here is what is different about the Profusion Knee High. As the name suggests, these are indeed several inches taller than the typical Profusion zinnias that reach 15 inches. In other words, they are knee high or closer to 20 inches.
The flowers are the same size as Profusions, but with this taller habit, they develop a more open look – similar to the narrow-leaf zinnias (Zinnia angustifolia) such as Star Orange or Classic White, and sometimes called Mexican zinnia.
This slightly open, airy look works well in the Southern garden and will allow them to partner wonderfully with salvias, gomphrenas and verbenas. They also excel with ornamental grasses such as Hameln dwarf fountain or Purple Fountain.
The Profusion zinnias are really disease resistant, making them fun to grow. Select a site in full sun with fertile, well-drained soil because they cannot survive wet feet. Prepare the planting area by tilling in 3 to 4 inches of organic matter along with a slow-release, 12-6-6 fertilizer.
Incorporate two pounds of the fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting area. Plant nursery-grown transplants at the same depth they are growing in the container, spacing 10 to 12 inches apart. Apply a layer of mulch after planting. Give them a little snip any time you don’t like the shape of any of the Profusion zinnias.
Feed with a light application of fertilizer one month after transplanting and every four tosix weeks throughout the growing season. Obviously, we are not ready for zinnia planting, but it is fun to plan and think about what we can do in the landscape when spring arrives.