group of different zinnias

Growing Tips for Common Zinnia Varieties

When I was a young and inexperienced gardener, the first annual flower I ever grew was the zinnia. I was lured in not only by their exuberant beauty, but the relative ease of growing them. Unfortunately, because I was so inexperienced, I tried growing them in the shade and was not careful with my watering, so I wound up with leggy, powdery-mildewed, and poorly blooming zinnias. Personal error aside, zinnias truly are some of the most easy-care and lovely flowers to grow, giving the garden an old-fashioned cottage charm.
The only issue you may have is deciding upon which variety to grow — like dahlias, zinnias offer a wide range of colors, petal formations, and sizes. Try one of these for your garden; it may just start a zinnia obsession, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Common Zinnia Varieties

Many zinnias can belong to more than one category — for example, single flowered dwarf, fully double cut flower zinnias, or even semi-double dahlia-flowered cut flower zinnias. These amazing combinations are much of the reason why gardeners become obsessed.

dreamland dwarf zinnia
orange cactus zinnia
pink single flowered zinnia
  • Dwarf: Although zinnias come in a really wide range of plant heights, dwarf varieties are those that stay at 10-12” tall or shorter. Now, keep in mind, the shorter plant size says nothing about the size of the flower — that depends upon the more specific zinnia variety itself. Dwarf varieties are ideal for borders and tucking into containers.
    • Dreamland Pink
    • Crystal White
    • Thumbelina
  • Cut Flower: Featuring taller forms with strong and sturdy stems, these zinnias are ideal for cutting and flower arranging.
    • Queen Lime Orange
    • Giant Purple
    • Uproar Rose
  • Cactus Flowered: Give your garden a little extra special sauce with cactus flowered zinnias — the petals are narrow and rolled or “quilled,” and typically semi-double or fully double flowers.
    • Raggedy Anne
    • Giant Aztec
    • Redman Super
  • Single Flowered: Single flowered zinnias have a center surrounded by one row of petals, giving it a daisy-like appearance
    • Crystal White
    • Profusion Apricot
    • Raspberry Lemonade Mix
Semi-double flowered zinnia
dahlia flowered zinnia
Giant salmon rose zinnia
  • Semi-Double Flowered: Semi-double flowered zinnias sport a visible center surrounded by layers of petal rows
    • Profusion Yellow
    • Zahara Red
    • Zahara Raspberry
  • Fully Double Flowered: Fully double flowered zinnias are similar to the semi-double with their multiple rows of petals, but in this case, the center of the flower is completely covered.
    • Orange King
    • El Dorado
    • Giant Salmon Rose
  • Dahlia-Flowered: These intriguing blooms are double or semi-double flowers with flat petals reminiscent of another blooming favorite, the dahlia.
    • Purple Prince
    • Polar Bear
    • Illumination
Zinnia Growing Tips
  • Sun: Full sun to light afternoon shade in very hot/strong sun climates
  • Water: Medium and regular
  • Soil: Average to rich, well-drained
  • Size: 6” T to 4’+ T
  • Colors: all colors except blue
  • Bloom time: Summer to fall
  • Type: Seed or transplant
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-8
  • Uses: Cut flower gardens, borders, containers, mass plantings, pollinator gardens, gardens with deer
  • Pest/Disease issues: fungal and mildew — avoid watering on foliage to avoid
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