Zany for Zinnias

Classic old fashion garden favorite. Large beautiful long lasting flowers that attract all the butterflies and hummingbirds. Long lasting for cut flowers and flower arrangements

When Can I Plant Zinnias? October 30, 2008

When Can I Plant Zinnias?

The central rule of thumb is to plant after the last day of expected frost in your area.  Remember, zinnias are annuals and are frost sensitive.  A few days too early can mean the difference between a beautiful flower garden….and a disaster. 

Planting Zone Map

Learn what planting zone you live in:

Knowing your planting zone can be very useful when your are planning your garden and flower bed areas.

When you order plants online or through a catalog it is very useful for you to know what will have the best success in your zone. 

Most plants are marked with a zone number. Use this map to know what plants will do best in your zone.


Using the Zone Map is really very simple. Find your geographic location on the map. Observe the corresponding color to that location. Look at the map key. That number designates the zone in which you live. 

You should select products that can survive in your zone. Simply read the item description and you will find a either a zone number or a range of zones. The lower of the the two zone numbers tells you the lowest recommended zone in which that plant can survive. Sometimes, an item will thrive outside that zone area. Remember this is only a guide.

For more information visit:

Indicator Plant ExamplesListed by Zone

Plant Hardiness Zones, Details

From: Plant Power


NOTE: The dates below are for the Northern Hemisphere
(Adjust appropriately for Southern Hemisphere)
Zone 1
Average dates Last Frost = 1 Jun / 30 Jun
Average dates First Frost = 1 Jul / 31 Jul Note: Vulnerable to frost 365 days per year

Zone 2
Average dates Last Frost = 1 May / 31 May
Average dates First Frost = 1 Aug / 31 Aug

Zone 3
Average dates Last Frost = 1 May / 31 May
Average dates First Frost = 1 Sep / 30 Sep

Zone 4
Average dates Last Frost = 1 May / 30 May
Average dates First Frost = 1 Sep / 30 Sep

Zone 5
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Mar / 30 Apr
Average dates First Frost = 30 Sep / 30 Oct

Zone 6
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Mar / 30 Apr
Average dates First Frost = 30 Sep / 30 Oct

Zone 7
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Mar / 30 Apr
Average dates First Frost = 30 Sep / 30 Oct

Zone 8
Average dates Last Frost = 28 Feb / 30 Mar
Average dates First Frost = 30 Oct / 30 Nov

<FONTSIZE=4>Zone 9
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Jan / 28 Feb
Average dates First Frost = 30 Nov / 30 Dec


Zone 10
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Jan or before
Average dates First Frost = 30 Nov / 30 Dec

Zone 11
Free of Frost throughout the year.

Best of the Home


Zinnia Picture Gallery

Zinnia Pictures


Getting started growing Zinnias

Getting started growing Zinnias


From the days, years ago, when a little old lady tending a small roadside stand neat a tidy farmhouse invited me back to see her garden and gave me dozens of her favorite Youth-and-Old-Age (Zinnia elegans), I’ve never been without them and as many of the amazing new kinds as my garden will hold.

A large shovelful of plants the little farmwoman gave me to set out in my garden yet not one died. Every one grew to fill my garden with cheer the summer long—and my house, too, for the phrase cut-and-come-again and zinnias are synonymous.

Whether seeds are started indoors, for early bloom, or sown outdoors after danger of frost is past, they germinate, develop and become attractive plants almost by themselves. Many of them seem to need nothing more than full sun and good soil.

When a storm or an accident destroys something in the border or in other critical places, I do not despair as I always grow enough zinnias for such emergencies. Using a shovel, I lift plants and set them into bare spots, prepared and soaked with water beforehand. If zinnias are dug up with a ball of soil, large enough, they slow up hardly at all. Often my plants do not even wilt when transplanted this way.

I crowd some varieties together for certain effects, and get smaller blossoms,but always give tall varieties such as Luther Burbank, Giants of California, Giant Dahlia Flowered plenty of room. I pick off the first buds in order to induce plants to make finer flowers and find it profitable to disbud if I want large flowers or am thinking of entering flowers in shows or fairs. My method is to leave only one bud to a stem and, if the plant is bushy, to remove some of the side branches and all insignificant low ones. The fewer the buds, the more food selected ones get and the larger flowers they become.

One of the more interesting newer zinnias is Persian Carpet. Its smallish flowers, composed of pointed petals tipped or bordered with a contrasting color, come in rich yellows, browns, maroons and copper and bronze. Plants about a foot high make a showy display in masses or as edges.

Navajo, another fine variety for the garden and arrangements, grows about a foot high, too and produces shapely little double or semi-double flowers in vivid shades or lilac, crimson, orange and in yellow, pink or other pastel tints. Flower petals are long, narrow and enhanced by white or yellow tips.

If you’re not familiar with Zinnia linearis, you are missing something useful. Nicely branching dwarf plants produce quantities of single, deep orange-yellow blossoms decorated by light yellow stripe in the center of each petal. When decayed cow manure is mixed with soil around plants they become mounds of ruddy gold.

The Lilliput Zinnia

Lilliputs are desirable for many reasons. Their rotund little blooms look good with almost all other in arrangements and in the garden. Plants are 12 to 18 inches high, flower early in the summer and continue till frost. There’s a mixture available as well as named varieties in white, in light tones and in deep shades from a good clear rose-pink to a blackish maroon.                    

   Creeping Zinnia

The Creeping Zinnia, not a zinnia at all but a sanvitalia, is a delightful subject for the rock garden. Given a dry location, plants practically care for themselves and produce a wealth of small double blooms. The old Red Riding Hood (Z. gracillima, horticulturally) is a pert, scarlet variety. Turned down petals of older blooms make them seem absurdly deep- and appealing- for their pygmy stems. This zinnia can be made to grow its diminutive flowers on a slope in gritty, sandy soil very much on the lean side.


A type that’s a hit in the garden and in arrangements is the Peppermint Stick strain which makes nicely formed, medium-sized striped flowers: red on a white ground; rose on yellow; orange on yellow; pink or purple on white. Not all flowers come true (that is, have stripes) but enough do to make a planting as merry as a circus. This strain and Z. linearis are among the earliest of their kind to bloom.




Both the size and coloring of the hybrid Giants are miraculous. They are as dramatic looking as any flower that grows; as immense, fluffy and glistening as certain chrysanthemums. There are two-or three-toned varieties, unusual pinks, corals, yellows. All seem to have strong stems and fine keeping qualities.

Organic Garden Tips             


Zinnias – Part One

Zinnias – Part One

Have you included zinnias in your garden this year? If so, you’re in good company, since the National Garden Bureau has designated 2000 the “Year of the Zinnia.” These easy, long-blooming tender annuals provide lots of color for the summer garden. The plants come in a variety of sizes, from 6-inch dwarfs to almost 4 feet high, and the flowers range from tiny button-like heads to large heads with double petals, in almost every color except true blue.

Zinnias are American natives that originated from the Southwest U.S., Mexico and Central America. The zinnia was named after the 18th century German botanist Dr. Johann Gottfried Zinn, who wrote the first description of this nondescript wildflower that grew in the Mexican deserts in the 18th century. Original wild zinnias were small, weedy, dull purplish-red, daisy-like flowers with single petals and a protruding cone in the middle. It would take nearly a century before European breeders seriously began developing it as a garden plant. Early varieties were introduced in the U.S. in 1796, with double forms appearing in the mid 1800’s, but the plant didn’t really take off until 1920, when Bodger Seeds Ltd. introduced the dahlia-flowered “Giant Dahlia,” and “California Giant,” a natural mutation of “Mammoth.” The large, flat-flowered heads and multiple colors started a new trend in plant habit

Hybridizers have turned this lowly wildflower into one of the most popular bedding plants. Zinnias now come in a wide variety of flower forms: single, semidouble, or double. Single-flowered zinnias have just one row of petals and the center of the flower is exposed. Double-flowered zinnias, with so many rows of petals that the center is hidden, have several shapes. Beehive types have small blooms with stacks of flat petals that resemble little beehives. Button-type flowers are similar to beehive except it’s flatter. The edges of each petal on cactus-shaped flowers roll under and the petal twists and bends. The petals on dahlia-flowered zinnias are large and flat and usually semi-double, which means that the flowers have many rows of petals but the center can be seen. 

Although there are more than a dozen species of zinnias, only a few species, all annuals in our climate, are regularly planted in gardens:

Zinnia elegans is the most common zinnia, and comes in heights up to 3 feet with single or double flower heads from 1 to 7 inches across. They bloom in all colors: pink, rose, red, cherry, lavender, purple, orange, salmon, gold, yellow, white, cream and light green. Some flowers are solid colored, while others are multicolored or zoned. Flower shape varies from round, domed or ball-shaped to dahlia- or chrysanthemum-like flowers. Tetraploid varieties (they have four, rather than the normal two, sets of chromosomes) were developed in the 1950’s that produced larger flowers on stronger stems, and displayed vigorous growth and increased disease resistance. Hybrid varieties were soon developed after that. Some common varieties of Z. elegans include:

The ” Border Beauty” series has 3½ inch, dahlia-like flowers that are semidouble to fully double, on 20-inch plants. 

The “Peter Pan” series are dwarf hybrids. Very large, slightly curled double flowers, up to 5 inches wide, are borne on compact 12-inch plants. Seven separate colors in this series have been recognized as All-American Selections (AAS) winners.

Wisconsin EDU


Zinnias – Part Two

Zinnias – Part Two

The ” Ruffles” series was developed as cutting flowers. The 2½ inch flower heads are ball shaped, with ruffled petals, borne onstiff, upright stems. The plants grow 24 to 30 inches tall. Several of these have been AAS winners: “Scarlet” in 1974, and “Cherry” and “Yellow” in 1978.

Z. angustifolia (= linearis) has smaller, single golden orange flowers with yellow stripes and narrower foliage than Z. elegans. The compact plants grow 8 to 12 inches high, and can spread to 2 feet. The variety “Crystal White,” with pure white flowers with yellow centers, was an AAS winner in 1997. 

In 1999, the “Profusion” series, “Cherry” and “Orange,” won gold medals from AAS – the first awarded to a flower in 10 years. This series is the result of crossing  Z. angustifolia and Z. elegans. They are tolerant of heat and humidity, disease resistant, and are compact growers, with 2- to 3-inch single flowers.


Z. haageana, Mexican zinnia, has small 1½ to 2 inch flowers with long stems.  The flowers may be single or double, solid or bicolor, in red, mahogany, yellow and orange. Plants are small, growing up to 18 inches tall. Two popular varieties are:

Persian Carpet and Old Mexico

“Persian Carpet” was an AAS winner in 1952. It has 2 inch double, bicolored flower heads of gold, maroon, purple, chocolate, pink or cream on a 15-inch plant.

“Old Mexico,” AAS in 1962,  has fully double, 2½ inch blooms of deep, rich mahogany highlighted with yellow-gold, on bushy, compact, 18-inch plants. 

Z. pauciflora (=peruviana) produces 1½ inch, single red or yellow flowers with button-like centers on sturdy stems. It is good for cutting and drying. The 30″ tall plants are resistant to powdery mildew. This species is not commonly offered, with only the varieties “Bonita Red” and “Bonita Yellow” available.

Wisconsin EDU


Zinnias – Part Three

Zinnias – Part Three

Zinnias are good for edgings, massed in borders or beds, or the taller varieties as background plants. Many varieties make excellent cut flowers and the smaller varieties are suitable for container plantings. Most varieties begin to bloom when still very small and continue until frost. Zinnia flowers are also attractive to many species of butterflies.

Zinnias can be started from seed, either indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost, or directly in the garden when the soil has warmed sufficiently. You can also purchase zinnias as bedding plants, although you may not have as many choices of cultivars. Plant zinnia seedlings outdoors only after the danger of frost is past as young plants are susceptible to chilling cold. They will not grow substantially until temperatures are above 50 degrees. 

Zinnias are one of the easier annuals to start from seeds. Germination takes 5-7 days. I’ve been very successful in growing plants when seeded individually in cells of seed-starting trays or when transplanted from a group of seedlings in a single cell – despite warnings in many publications that zinnias resent being disturbed and should only be seeded in place or grown in peat pots. When transplanting, wait until the first true leaf is emerging. Separate the roots as carefully as possible and place the seedlings into their new cells as deep as possible, up to the first set of leaves. Select  appropriately sized tray cells depending on the predicted size of your cultivars. Tall varieties grow quickly and may outgrow their container before it’s time to plant outside!

Zinnias do best in full sun in fertile, well-drained soil, so amend your site first if necessary, and fertilize twice monthly for optimum bloom. When planting in the garden, space the plants 4 to 24 inches apart according to variety – whatever their height will be at maturity. For cut flowers, however, I crowd my plants in their raised bed in the cutting garden to encourage longer stems. To produce bushier plants, pinch the tops out of young plants when they are 4-6 inches high (but some varieties have been bred to be compact). Remove faded blossoms to keep them producing. Plants should be kept well-watered. 

Zinnias have few insect pests. Aphids can be controlled with sprays of insecticidal soap or synthetic insecticides, or by releasing predaceous green lacewing larvae. Naturally-occurring predators and parasitoids may also decimate aphid colonies. Feeding by four-lined plant bug causes small, round, brown sunken spots on the leaves. This insect generally only causes sporadic damage, and no good controls are available. Spider mites are generally only a problem in hot, dry weather. Their feeding causes the foliage to become bronzed or stippled. Insecticidal soap or miticides can be used to suppress their populations.

Powdery mildew is the most significant disease of zinnias that are not resistant to the fungus. It is particularly a problem late in the season when white to grayish powdery growth appears on the leaves. The fungus can be controlled with applications of fungicides (chlorothalonil or benomyl). Planting zinnias far enough apart to provide good air circulation will help reduce or delay development of disease. If you have persistent problems with powdery mildew, try to plant resistant varieties.

Other diseases include blight, or alternaria leaf spot, which starts as reddish brown spots with graying centers. Eventually dark brown cankers form on the stems and flowers become spotted or completely blighted.  Bacterial leaf spot also causes reddish brown spots, but these are angular and only on the leaves. This disease can cause plants to die out by mid-August.

Susan Mahr, Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin – Madison


Wisconsin EDU


Garden Tools for Zinnias

Filed under: annuals,flowers,zinnias — patoconnor @ 11:09 pm
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Garden Tools for Zinnias

You will also need a small selection of garden tools for your flower bed.  This is one area that I don’t believe in buying these cheap, flimsy tools.  You save more money in the long run by purchasing tools that are sturdy and of superior quality.

Your tools should include the usual large ones, plus a set of the smaller hand varieties.  I find both come in quite handy and each has a particular use at a particular time.


Garden Tools ~ quality gardening tools are a good investment

Now you can have the benefits of working with garden tools designed for professionals. Heavy duty, high-grade materials used in gardening tools for landscapers, arborists and professional gardeners mean your tools will last longer and perform better.

Good quality garden tools are a wise investment for all gardeners from novices to master gardeners. With proper care and maintenance your garden tools will last a long time, if not a lifetime. Start with the basic gardening tools and build your collection as you gain experience and as your garden grows.

Basic garden tool set:

  • spading fork
  • round-end shovel
  • rake
  • garden shears or pruners  
  • hoe

Gardening Trends        

Before digging into the garden make sure you have the right tools

Digging around in your garden is not exactly brain surgery, but like surgeons, every gardener should have the right tool for the right job.   

Some may say that a shovel is just a shovel, but an expert in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences points out that real gardeners need a spade — and about four other essential gardening implements.

“These days there are catalogs and stores with very specialized equipment, but many gardeners really just need some basic tools,” says J. Robert Nuss, professor of ornamental horticulture. “Once you have a solid set of tools, then you can branch out into specialty equipment.”

Nuss recommends five basic tools:

A long-handled spade. This tool is designed for digging. The blade is straight and set at an angle so it cuts easily into the soil. “A spade is not a shovel,” Nuss explains. “A shovel is designed like a scoop and is used to move material from one place to another.”     

A spading fork. This tool has flat, square tines and is used for moving heavy soil. “Spading forks are invaluable for preparing soil in the spring and harvesting some types of vegetables in the fall,” Nuss says. “Don’t confuse it with a pitchfork, which has rounded, slender tines and is used to move straw or compost.” – see other side     

A steel rake.These large rakes are used to break up clay, to smooth out soil and to rake in fertilizers. “If the garden is large, get a wide, heavy rake,” Nuss says. “It wouldn’t hurt to have a wide leaf rake for lawn work.”

A hoe. Hoes are used to form rows, cover seeds, move soil, cut out weeds and make holes for planting seedlings. “Hoes come in all types and sizes, but most gardeners don’t need heavy ones,” Nuss says. “The most versatile hoes are dual-purpose models, with a triangular cutting head on one side and a cultivating tool with three tines on the other side.”    

A hand trowel. Any hand tool that makes gardening more efficient is an invaluable addition to the homeowner’s arsenal of tools. “Hand tools are best for marking rows, weeding, making furrows and moving small plants,” Nuss says.     

Nuss says when it comes to gardening, choosing a big tool isn’t necessarily better. “Heavy tools are fine for big people, but if you are short on size or energy, pick smaller tools,” he explains. “The same logic applies to picking the best handle length. Tools are extensions of the body and should be used for extra leverage or reach when pulling or cutting.”

Nuss advises using heavy-handled tools for moving soil and heavy material. For weeding and cultivation jobs, he recommends using a tool with a lightweight handle.


Old House Web

** I also highly recommend a good pair of garden gloves as well **



Basic Supplies for Growing Zinnias

Filed under: annuals,flowers,zinnias — patoconnor @ 11:03 pm
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Basic Supplies for Growing Zinnias   

    Before we get started learning all about growing zinnias, you should know there are a few basic supplies you should have on hand:

1. ) Lots and Lots of cow manure.  You can buy the non-smelly composted bags, 40 lbs worth for a buck at most large gardening supply centers.  I have always found this essential to improve the soil and maintain its health.  It is also important in attracting earthworms, which are vital to a rich, soft soil. 

2.) Miracle grow – or any type of good bloom booster fertilizer.  You won’t believe the number of flowers you will have using these products.  When you read the package look for the numbers
15-30-15 on the front of the package.  The product is easy to use as well.  Simply fill your sprayer canister with the crystals and apply with a water hose.  You will also be able to find store brands or less known brands that are just as good.  Simply be sure of those 15-30-15 readings.
3.) Beer – should be ice cold and refreshing.  No, no….now this isn’t for the slugs.  I have always heard this will atract them and they drown while drinking it.   Now that is a waste of good brew and is reserved for the gardener.
4.) Good, comfyyard chair/lounge.  You’ll need one of these for those rest breaks when you sip your beer and admire your handy work.

Welcome to Zany for Zinnias

Filed under: annuals,flowers,zinnias — patoconnor @ 10:53 pm
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Perhaps, you might wonder, why have a blog on just zinnias?

I have some thirty-six other internet sites on prose, inspirational writings and medical conditions.  But, I needed a change and what a better idea could there be then starting some blogs on my favorite flowers and ideas on gardening.

Zinnias are native to the Western hemisphere and are as American as apple pie.  They are easy to grow, provide an abundant reward in beauty and in attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden and are simply fantastic for cut flower bouquets. Infact, the more you cut them, the more flowers you have.

So enjoy!                 Pat O’Connor