Zinnias (Zinnia elegans)

Zinnias are small to tall annuals (30cm-120cm high) grown for their bright and colourful daisy-like flowers from summer to autumn. They are tolerant of heat and drought and will keep producing spectacular blooms until the first frost.

Zinnias can have single or double flowers in colours that include orange, purple, hot pink, red, cream and white. They are native to Mexico and part of the daisy family. Zinnias can be grown from seed, seedlings or bought as advanced plants already in flower. Check your local hardware and garden centre for planting ideas in your area.

As well as looking great throughout the garden, mass planted or as edging plants around borders, zinnias are excellent long-lasting cut flowers for a vase or to pick as a posy to give away. For something different for a floral arrangement grow the green-flowered zinnia ‘Envy’, which grows to around 60cm high.

In flower, zinnias are attractive to beneficial insects including bees so they are ideal planted around fruit trees or the vegie patch.

Zinnias can be grown in the ground in well-drained soil or in containers. For containers select small varieties. To encourage strong growth, space tall growing plants at least 40cm apart. Dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties can be planted 20-30cm apart.

Growing conditions

Aspect Zinnia needs a bright, sunny location with sun for all or most of the day. In hotter climates they prefer a part shade location.

Soil Zinnias do best with good drainage but are otherwise not very fussy about soil. In areas with poor drainage, grow plants in raised garden beds (raised at least 30cm) or large containers. When planting into the soil incorporate homemade compost or organic matter and/or Seasol Super Compost into the soil prior to planting. If planting into large containers use a premium potting mix such as Seasol Advanced Potting Mix.

Climate As annuals, zinnias grow through the warmer months in a wide range of climates from cool to tropical. They are not frost hardy so dieback when conditions become cold or frosty in late autumn.

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General care

Watering Once established, zinnias are drought hardy. Water more frequently if plants are in hot, dry or exposed conditions or in containers.

Feeding and mulching Zinnias respond with strong growth and flowering with the right nutrients. Add PowerFeed Controlled Release Flowers, Fruit & Citrus into the soil when planting and feed fortnightly with PowerFeed PRO SERIES Plant Food Roses & Flowers or PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives.

Mulch with an organic mulch such as sugarcane mulch, lucerne or pea straw.

Pruning Pinch prune (pruning out the growing tip) when plants are young to encourage bushiness. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage repeat flowering.

Watch out Zinnias have few pest problems, but the leaves may occasionally be attacked by caterpillars (remove by hand wearing gloves). Plants in highly humid locations or that are not well drained may develop rust. Plants growing in too much shade may be lanky or develop mildew.