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Zinnia peruviana is often confused with:
Echinacea purpurea Flowers (Wake County, NC)
Gaillardia Form
Native alternative(s) for Zinnia peruviana:
Echinacea purpurea Flowers (Wake County, NC)
Gaillardia pulchella Swallowtail butterfly
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Zinnia haageana Zinnia haageana
Thymus vulgaris Thymus vulgaris
Zinnia marylandica 'Zarah Starlight'
Zinnia peruviana has some common insect problems:
Flower Thrips
Aphids on Ornamental Landscape Plants

Zinnia peruviana

Previously known as:

  • Crassina multiflora
  • Zinnia multiflora
  • Zinnia pauciflora
Phonetic Spelling
ZIN-ya per-u-vee-AN-uh
Description

Peruvian zinnia is an annual, erect, wildflower in the Asteraceae (daisy) family. This plant is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico and is found as far south as Venezuela and Argentina. It grows along roadsides, in disturbed locations, wastelands, and pastures. 

Peruvian zinnia needs full sun and sandy soil with good drainage, which can be occasionally dry. Water regularly; however, do not overwater as it has a short taproot. It propagates self-seeding by the wind.  

This plant is a fast-growing, quick-blooming tropical species that grows 6 inches to 3 feet tall and 1inch to 2 feet wide. The plant's flowers are showy with gold and yellow or red and burgundy from summer through the fall. The stems are mostly unbranched, rough, and have fine, stiff hairs.   Plants are not typically commercially available at garden centers as a choice for your home garden. However, seeds are available for purchase. They can also be collected from plants. Allow the seed heads to dry on the plant before collecting.

Peruvian zinnia makes an excellent choice for xeriscaping, pollinator, and conservation gardens where the flowers can be cut and brought indoors to enjoy.  Use in a container, mass planted along a walkway or patio, in a border planting, or tucked into any other small space in the garden that needs a pop of color. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves are green, simple, and rough
  • Leaves are opposite on stems
  • Stems are green, purple, or lavender

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Aphids and thrips are occasional issues.

 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:
  • 'Andes Jewel'
    Grows well in cooler climates.
'Andes Jewel'
Tags:
#small spaces#annuals#drought tolerant#weeds#weedy#low maintenance#mass planting#fast growing#herbaceous#NC native#naturalizes#wind dispersed seeds#border planting#self-seeding#disturbed areas#cutting garden#wildflower garden#native annual#herbaceous annual#border middle#walkway planting#patio planting#butterfly friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Andes Jewel'
    Grows well in cooler climates.
'Andes Jewel'
Tags:
#small spaces#annuals#drought tolerant#weeds#weedy#low maintenance#mass planting#fast growing#herbaceous#NC native#naturalizes#wind dispersed seeds#border planting#self-seeding#disturbed areas#cutting garden#wildflower garden#native annual#herbaceous annual#border middle#walkway planting#patio planting#butterfly friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Zinnia
    Species:
    peruviana
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southwestern U.S.A., Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina
    Distribution:
    AZ, FL, FA, NC, SC
    Wildlife Value:
    Its blooms are frequented by Danaus glippus (Queen), Heliconius charithonia Linnaeus (Zebra Longwing), and Leptophobia aripa butterflies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 1 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    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:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Dark reddish-orange flowers The flowers are typically single on the solitary erect, purple-green stem, each flower having 6-15 ray florets and 12-50 disc florets.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves have 3-5 veins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Typically unbranched, rough and having fine, coarse hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Problems:
    Weedy