Plant DetailShow Menu

Common Zinnia Zinnia elegans

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • common zinnia, elegant zinnia
Phonetic Spelling
ZIN-ee-ah el-eh-GANZ
Description

Zinnia is an erect, flowering annual in the Asteraceae (aster) family with Mexican origins. It is a garden favorite with many cultivars available. The zinnia is named in honor of Johann Gottfried Zinn, a German botanist. 

Plant zinnia in loam or soil with high organic matter and good drainage. It is not picky about soil pH but does require a site in full sun. Propagate by seed. Sow seed directly in the ground after the last frost date. Zinnias feature continuous summer to fall bloom in cool summer climates but may slow down at the peak of summer. Plant disease-resistant varieties in hot and humid summer climates. Good air circulation helps prevent the onset of fungal leaf diseases. Deer do not find this plant appetizing. 

The Profusion Series features a cross between Zinnia angustifolia and Zinnia elegans, combining the best of each. It has superior disease resistance, drought resistance, will tolerate both heat and humidity, and requires no deadheading. This series of cultivars offers dense, compact mounds up to 18 inches tall with a variety of colors to choose from.  

Zinnia is colorful, easy to grow, and attracts pollinators. It is a cheerful addition to a variety of landscape locations, including containers, patio gardens, recreational play areas, alongside walkways, in borders, and mass plantings. 

Quick ID

  • Imbricated, obtuse, broad involucral bracts
  • Leaves are opposite in arrangement, sessile, and clasping 
  • Larger leaves can be 2 to 4 inches across and have 5 palmate veins
  • Heads are large to gigantic and variously colored

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Zinnia is susceptible to powdery mildew, leaf spots, root rots, and blights. Fungal blooms are common in shaded or moist conditions in the south.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Benay's Giants'
    Heights to 4', cut flowers.
  • 'Blue Point Purple'
    Large blooms, 36" tall
  • 'Crystal White'
    White, daisy-like blooms
  • 'Dasher'
    Dwarf, double flowers, 12" tall
  • 'Dreamland'
    Dwarf form
  • 'Lilliput'
    18-24", pom-pom like flowers
  • 'Magellan Starburst Mix'
    Dwarf form
  • 'Oklahoma'
    2.5-3" tall - 2" flowers
  • 'Peter Pan'
    1' x 1', semi-dwarf
  • 'Profusion Blanc'
    White flower, orange/yellow center
  • 'Profusion Cherry'
    Pink flowers with yellow centers, 12-15" tall
  • 'Profusion Orange'
    Orange flowers with orange centers, 18" tall
  • 'Profusion White'
    White flowers with yellow centers, 1-2' tall
  • 'Pulcino'
    12-24", double and semi-double blooms
  • 'Purple Prince'
    Lavender flowers, blooms repeatedly, 36-48" tall
  • 'Scarlet Ruffles'
    Blue-green foliage.
  • 'Short Stuff'
    Double blooms. 8-10" tall
  • 'Star Gold'
    Star shaped golden yellow flowers
  • 'Star Orange'
    Star shaped orange blooms
  • 'Star Starbright'
    Single star shaped flowers up to 2"
  • 'State Fair'
    Heights to 4', 5" flowers, cut flowers.
  • 'Thumbelina'
    Dwarf form, 4-6"
  • 'Zesty'
    Double flowers, 18-24"
'Benay's Giants', 'Blue Point Purple', 'Crystal White', 'Dasher', 'Dreamland', 'Lilliput', 'Magellan Starburst Mix', 'Oklahoma', 'Peter Pan', 'Profusion Blanc', 'Profusion Cherry', 'Profusion Orange', 'Profusion White', 'Pulcino', 'Purple Prince', 'Scarlet Ruffles', 'Short Stuff', 'Star Gold', 'Star Orange', 'Star Starbright', 'State Fair', 'Thumbelina', 'Zesty'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#full sun tolerant#annuals#drought tolerant#white flowers#pink flowers#red flowers#yellow flowers#orange flowers#fall interest#specialized bees#cpp#summer flowers#deer resistant#spring interest#pollinator plant#fantz#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden#wilson mg plant sale 2021
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Benay's Giants'
    Heights to 4', cut flowers.
  • 'Blue Point Purple'
    Large blooms, 36" tall
  • 'Crystal White'
    White, daisy-like blooms
  • 'Dasher'
    Dwarf, double flowers, 12" tall
  • 'Dreamland'
    Dwarf form
  • 'Lilliput'
    18-24", pom-pom like flowers
  • 'Magellan Starburst Mix'
    Dwarf form
  • 'Oklahoma'
    2.5-3" tall - 2" flowers
  • 'Peter Pan'
    1' x 1', semi-dwarf
  • 'Profusion Blanc'
    White flower, orange/yellow center
  • 'Profusion Cherry'
    Pink flowers with yellow centers, 12-15" tall
  • 'Profusion Orange'
    Orange flowers with orange centers, 18" tall
  • 'Profusion White'
    White flowers with yellow centers, 1-2' tall
  • 'Pulcino'
    12-24", double and semi-double blooms
  • 'Purple Prince'
    Lavender flowers, blooms repeatedly, 36-48" tall
  • 'Scarlet Ruffles'
    Blue-green foliage.
  • 'Short Stuff'
    Double blooms. 8-10" tall
  • 'Star Gold'
    Star shaped golden yellow flowers
  • 'Star Orange'
    Star shaped orange blooms
  • 'Star Starbright'
    Single star shaped flowers up to 2"
  • 'State Fair'
    Heights to 4', 5" flowers, cut flowers.
  • 'Thumbelina'
    Dwarf form, 4-6"
  • 'Zesty'
    Double flowers, 18-24"
'Benay's Giants', 'Blue Point Purple', 'Crystal White', 'Dasher', 'Dreamland', 'Lilliput', 'Magellan Starburst Mix', 'Oklahoma', 'Peter Pan', 'Profusion Blanc', 'Profusion Cherry', 'Profusion Orange', 'Profusion White', 'Pulcino', 'Purple Prince', 'Scarlet Ruffles', 'Short Stuff', 'Star Gold', 'Star Orange', 'Star Starbright', 'State Fair', 'Thumbelina', 'Zesty'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#full sun tolerant#annuals#drought tolerant#white flowers#pink flowers#red flowers#yellow flowers#orange flowers#fall interest#specialized bees#cpp#summer flowers#deer resistant#spring interest#pollinator plant#fantz#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden#wilson mg plant sale 2021
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Zinnia
    Species:
    elegans
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico
    Distribution:
    South and Central America, the West Indies, the United States, Australia, and Italy
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and pollinators
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 8 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2b, 2a, 3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Dome
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Inflorescence is a head-on terminal elongated peduncle; heads large to gigantic, 4-8" in diameter; involucral bracts imbricated, broadly obtuse, bicolored. Flowers are typically semidouble to double, of various anthocyanin or cartenoid colors except blue; ray flowers showy, conspicuous, to 8" long, reflexed with age; disc flowers few, inconspicuous, or lacking.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are opposite, sessile, clasping, ovate to elliptic, entire, acute to subacuminate, cordate; larger leaves towards base broad, 2-4" wide with 5 palmate veins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Recreational Play Area
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought