I have recently become a fan of the old garden stand-by, the Zinnia. The garden Zinnia was a favorite annual of yesteryear, and seems to be experiencing a resurgence in popularity of late.
The Zinnia genus contains annuals, perennials and shrubs. All the Zinnia species are native to our hemisphere, in an area that stretches from the southwestern U.S. down to South America.
The most common annual Zinnia you can purchase as seed or as bedding plants is likely to be Zinnia elegans or Zinnia haageana. Plant breeders have created many Zinnia cultivars over the years. Annual Zinnias are easy to grow from seed, and do very well in my growing conditions in Colorado.
One thing I’ve only noticed after I started growing them is the great variety of color and form that the flowers exhibit. There seems to be an endless supply of different colors, forms, and sizes that annual Zinnia flowers will exhibit.
The photos shown above are a small selection of the diversity of Zinnias you can grow in your garden. Some of these zinnias I grew from seed in my garden, and some of them are growing in the Denver Botanic Gardens. Most of the Zinnias pictured here are cultivars of Zinnia elegans. A couple of them might be cultivars of Zinnia haageana.
Bees and butterflies seem to love Zinnia flowers, too. The recent migration of Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies that passed through Denver, brought a plethora of butterflies feasting on my Zinnias. And in the evening, several bumble bees (genus Bombus) could be found sleeping on the underside of some of the zinny flowers in my yard, after they had spent a busy day buzzing from one Zinnia flower to another.
Zinnias are so easy to start from seed, that I recommend you try to grow some in your yard at the start of the next garden season.
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