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

Mexican Zinnias October 31, 2008

Filed under: annuals,flowers,zinnias — patoconnor @ 12:00 am
Tags: ,

                Mexican Zinnias       

Zinnia haageana
Common Names:
Mexican zinnia, narrow-leaved zinnia, orange zinnia
Family: Asteraceae/Compositae

Mexican zinnia is an upright, bushy annual that is similar to common zinnia (
Z. elegans). However, the leaves are smaller, only 2-3 in (5.1-7.6 cm) long. They are also narrower (almost linear) unlike the lance-shaped, 3-5 in (7.6-12.7 cm) long leaves of common zinnia. Mexican zinnia gets about 2 ft (0.6 m) tall with a spread of about 1 ft (0.3 m). The wild form has bright orange ray flowers on heads about 1.5 in (3.8 cm) across. Like the better known zinnia, Mexican zinnia has many cultivars to brighten up summer flower beds. ‘Old Mexico’ is a tried and true old-timer with a bushy habit and flowerheads in yellow, red and mahogany. ‘Chippendale’ has ray flowers that are bright red with yellow tips. ‘Star White’ has white rays and golden yellow discs. ‘Persian Carpet’ is dwarf, to 14 in (35.6 cm) tall, with double flowerheads in a wide combination of bi-colors including gold, maroon, purple, brown, cream and pink. ‘Orange Star’ is only 10 in (25.4 cm) tall and bushy with orange flowerheads; it makes a good annual groundcover.

Mexican zinnia is native to Mexico.

Light: Full sun.
Moisture: Mexican zinnia is quite tolerant of heat and drought. The ‘Persian Carpet’ series cultivars are perhaps the most drought and heat tolerant.
Hardiness: Mexican zinnia is a warm season annual that is very tolerant of long, hot summers. It cannot tolerate frost.
Propagation: Sow seeds where the plants are to be grown in spring after the last frost, or set out 6-8 week-old seedlings. Zinnias are sensitive to root disturbance, so be especially careful when transplanting.

Zinnias are traditional in annual flower beds and borders. Use the dwarf varieties in containers and window planters. Some of the short, bushy cultivars make nice summer groundcovers. Grow the taller varieties in borders and beds and for cut flowers. Pinch young stems back to encourage branching unless growing for long-stemmed cut flowers. Deadhead spent flowers frequently to prolong flowering. Zinnias will produce larger (but fewer) flowers if you remove side shoots.     

Zinnias are among the few bedding plants that will continue to perform throughout long, hot southern summers, all the way up to the first frost. Mexican zinnia is even more tolerant of heat, dry weather and winds than is the common zinnia.

The name, Zinnia angustifolia has been misapplied to Z. haageana in the horticultural trade, but the former is in fact a distinct species from Central America that is smaller, to 15 in (38.1 cm) high, and has smaller narrower leaves to 2 in (5.1 cm) long. Narrow-leaved zinnia, as it is called, has ray flowers that are orange with a yellow stripe down the middle.



Think Zinnia for Sunny Summer Color October 30, 2008

 Think Zinnia for Sunny Summer Color        

By Patricia Diaz, from the February 2005 Newsletter

      There are two kinds of flowers that, for me, definitely say sunny summer – calendula (or pot marigold – not to be confused with African or French marigolds) and zinnias. Both are fuss-free and give so much beauty to your garden.

Calendulas are a hardy annual and are native to southern Europe. They are a wonderful re-seeder and come in gorgeous shades of oranges and yellows. You can plant them directly in the garden or in mixed beds and containers. Since they have nice long stems, they also make great cut flowers. They like the cooler summer temperatures and do their best blooming in late spring and early summer. The variety Pacific Beauty is more resistant to summer heat than other varieties.

One of the nicest benefits of calendula, other than their beautiful color, is their soothing and healing purpose. Calendula was used during the Civil War in dressed wounds to speed healing. Today, you can purchase many calendula products, including soaps, skin creams, and salve used for minor cuts and burns. AND you can eat the flowers and leaves! In medieval times they were commonly used in soups and salads. You can also dry the flowers and use them as a “poor person’s” substitute for saffron. In potpourri, the dried leaves add great color while imparting no additional scent to your mixture.

You can plant calendula in full sun or partial shade and the plants tolerate most garden soils as long as you have good drainage. You can start the seeds about 6-8 weeks before the last frost or purchase seedlings at your local nursery. Seedlings need to be planted about 12 inches apart.

Calendula grows to about 1-2’ tall with flowers that are 1-4” in diameter. The most commonflower colors are oranges and yellows, but you can also find pale cream, gold, and apricot.

My other great summer favorite flowers are zinnias. There are SO many varieties and colors that it’s pretty hard to decide which kinds to plant! Another easy to grow plant, the seeds germinate quickly, the plants thrive on heat, they don’t need staking usually, and they don’t require a lot of water or fertilizer. No fuss, just enjoyment!

To grow zinnias from seed, sow directly into the ground in a full-sun area. While average soil is acceptable, adding compost and all-purpose fertilizer yields better plants. Sow the seeds 2-3” apart in rows that are 12” apart or intermix with your other garden plantings. Barely cover the seeds with soil, as they need light to germinate. Keep the soil moist until you see the seedlings (about 5-10 days). Thin to about 10-12” apart. Snails and slugs like the seedlings so protect them while they’re small. Water frequently at ground level until they reach several inches tall, then you can water less often but more deeply. If you prefer to buy nursery starts, dig a planting hole larger than the plant’s root ball, setting the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is even with the surrounding soil. Firm soil and water well.

Here are some suggestions for different kinds of zinnias:

ZINNIAS FOR CUTTING – Z. haageana is one of two types of zinnias perfect for cutting. ‘Old Mexico’ is a double flowered, mahogany colored flower; ‘Persian Carpet’ has orange and deep red flowers; Z. peruviana, also a zinnia for cutting, has tiny flowers in brick red or soft gold and the flowers make great dried blooms, even drying right on the plant! Z. elegans is also a cut flower favorite with long stems and large flowers. They can be prone to powdery mildew late in the season, however. Benary’s Giants (mildew resistant) come in a wide range of colors, as do the Yoga series; Splendor are scarlet, pink, orange or yellow; ‘Envy’ are a wonderful lime green’ ‘Candy Cane’ and ‘Candy Stripe’ both have striped flowers.

SPREADING ZINNIAS – Z. angustifolia (the Star series) have shorter stems and therefore aren’t as good for cutting. They are usually 12-18” in height and are wonderful for beds and borders. They flower quickly and are nearly maintenance free. The most common varieties are Star with white, gold or orange flowers, and Profusion with orange or cherry pink flowers.





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