Longtime favorites for colorful, round flowers, typically in summer and early fall.
These are hot-weather plants that do not gain from being planted early; they merely stand still until the weather warms up. Subject to mildew in foggy places, if given overhead water, and when autumn brings longer nights, more dew and shade. Sow seeds where plants are to grow (or set out nursery plants) from late spring to early summer. Give good garden soil, feed generously. Most garden zinnias belong to Z. elegans.
Annual, with compact growth to 16 in. high and wide and very narrow leaves to 2 1/2 in. long. Orange, inch-wide flowers; each ray has a paler stripe. Blooms in 6 weeks from seed, continues late into fall. The Classic and Star series bloom in shades of orange-yellow and white. ‘Golden Eye’ is much like ‘Star White’: both have white rays and yellow centers.
Annual, from Mexico. This is the common garden zinnia, sold in strains ranging from less than a foot high and wide to 4 ft. tall and half as wide. Oval to lance-shaped leaves to 5 in. long; summer flowers from less than 1 in. to as much as 5–7 in. across. Forms include full double, cactus flowered (with quilled rays), and crested (cushionlike center surrounded by rows of broad rays); the many colors available include white, pink, salmon, rose, red, yellow, orange, lavender, and purple. Some flowers are multicolored.
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