Richard C. Bogren, Owings, Allen D.
News Release Distributed 04/24/15
By Allen Owings
LSU AgCenter horticulturist
HAMMOND, La. – Home gardeners have long enjoyed zinnias, one of our most popular warm-season bedding plants. New zinnia varieties have been introduced regularly over the past few years. Extended bloom and fewer disease problems are some of the primary criteria in developing new zinnia varieties.
Some of the newer zinnias include the Profusion and the Zahara varieties. These landscape-type zinnias resulted from hybridization between the old cut-flower-type zinnias and the Mexican or narrowleaf zinnias.
Flowers and foliage are smaller than the old cut-flower-type zinnias but larger than the narrowleaf zinnias. Plants reach heights of 14-18 inches and will bloom from planting date until first killing frost. They are also a great improvement over the Dreamland and Peter Pan zinnias, which have traditionally been the primary varieties used in residential and commercial landscapes.
Profusion zinnias are available in many colors, including orange, white, yellow, cherry, coral pink, apricot, deep apricot and fire in both single and double flower forms. You can buy Profusion zinnias as a three-, five- or seven-color mix and also in a mix called Sunrise. The Profusion Orange, Profusion Cherry and Profusion White varieties are all All-America Selections winners.
Zahara zinnias have been out a few years less than the Profusions. The Zaharas have flower colors including fire, cherry, red, yellow, white, coral rose, starlight rose, raspberry and scarlet. You can also plant a formula mix of all these colors, a Bonfire mix of bright colors and a Raspberry Lemonade blend. The Zahara zinnias come with single and double flowers, too.
Zinnias can be planted throughout the warm season in Louisiana. Typically, you should plant in April or early May. Some years, a spring planting looks good into fall, and some years a spring planting only looks good until mid- or late summer. A mid-to-late-summer planting works just as well as spring plantings and leads to a great flower display in September and October. Zinnias flower abundantly in fall.
Plant zinnias in full sun. Most zinnias prefer to have old flowers removed to encourage continual bloom, but Profusion and Zahara zinnias stay in flower much better and longer than other varieties. Deadheading is not needed.
Powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases caused by fungi and bacteria are sometimes a problem on zinnias, but they don’t occur on the Profusion series.
Zinnias perform best in drier years. Also, it is important to note that a well-drained bed is preferred. Irrigation isn’t needed very often, but avoid overhead irrigation if you do water these plants. In general, zinnias are remarkably drought-tolerant.
You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.