From brash to subtle – a Zinnia to suit every garden
Those overblown barmaids of the borders, Zinnias, have been named Flower of the Year 2017 by Fleuroselect.
That didn’t sound very respectful towards the blooms, but I have to be honest, they’re not my favourites.
Still, I felt I should take a more detailed look at this popular summer flower.
It’s fair to say that there are so many hybrids and varieties, you’ll find one to suit your style – and their drought tolerance makes them a good choice in drier areas.
A few Zinnia facts:
- Native to SW USA to South America, with the majority of species native to Mexico.
- Named after German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn.
- Z. elegans the most common garden half-hardy annual.
- Drought tolerant.
- Means ‘thinking of absent friends’ in the language of flowers.
- Orange Zinnia bloomed on the International Space Station in 2016 – but it wasn’t the first plant to flower in space.
- Popular with hummingbirds in the Americas, it’s used as a companion plant against whitefly.
Can have problems with powdery mildew.
- A favourite of butterflies.
Here are my top 10 picks from what’s on the market for next season:
Queen Red Lime, Dobies, www.dobies.co.uk, £2.50.
This one I do like very much, part of the Rob Smith range. Pastel shades of red/pink brushed with lime green. Need free drainage and full sun. Combine Queen Red Lime with Achillea and Gypsophila. Height 60cm.
Mammoth, Higgledy Garden, www.higgledygarden.com, £1.95 (50 seeds).
Wonderful double flowers on strong stems, a great range of colours and easy to grow. Height 75cm.
Zahara Rose Starlight, DT Brown, www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk, £2.99.
Pure white flowers streaked with rich pink in the centre. Drought, heat and humidity tolerant. Height: 45cm.
Zinderella Peach, Thompson & Morgan, www.thompson-morgan.com, £3.49.
Orange blooms with cream and rose detailing. Height 90cm.
Solmar Mixed F1, Mr Fothergill’s, www.mr-fothergills.co.uk, £3.99 (20 seeds).
British-bred, with large flower heads which last well with good heat and drought tolerance, and excellent disease resistance. Height 45-60cm.
Jazzy Mixed, Plant World Seeds, www.plant-world-seeds.com, £3.20.
Bi-coloured zinnias produce masses of semi-double, inch and a half, red-tipped burgundy daisies in the sparkling colours, blooming into late autumn. Height 45cm.
Sombrero, Mr Fothergill’s, www.mr-fothergills.co.uk, £2.35 (50 seeds).
Single-flowered, red and white, jam tart-like blooms through summer and into autumn. Height 35cm.
Fireworks Mix, Suttons, www.suttons.co.uk, £1.99 (average 120 seeds).
Large double flowers, long-lasting and gaily coloured. Height 75cm.
Old Mexico, Marshalls, www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk, £2.99. (100 seeds).
Fiery hues of chilli reds and golden yellows give a rustic charm to beds and borders. Ideal for cut flowers. Height 45cm. (Not pictured.)
Mazurkia, Chiltern Seeds, www.chilternseeds.co.uk, £2.20.
Award-winning new variety with cream-tipped scarlet flowers. Height 90cm.