|Mixed zinnias of several different types in my cutting garden. These make lovely bouquets, and I've noticed that I actually like the smaller ones better for bringing inside, for some reason.|
|A single pink zinnia in the Pink Section of my Rainbow Border. I don't know why more pink ones haven't germinated from the seeds I planted in this section....|
|The red zinnias have done a bit better in the Red Section of the Rainbow Border. Shown here with some scarlet salvia, these have many more buds ready to flower.|
|The Yellow Section is filled with color from these yellow zinnias. Most late-summer color in the Rainbow Border comes from annuals such as these zinnias, as well as the petunias and marigolds shown in this photo.|
|Green zinnias are one of my favorite colors of this flower. Green flowers are fairly rare, and these zinnias make a very important contribution to the Green Section of the Rainbow Border.|
I would really like to find some pure white zinnias to add to the two White Sections that begin and end the Rainbow Border, but I've had trouble finding white zinnia seeds sold locally, and I've noticed that the zinnias that are sold as already-blooming annuals in packs aren't white, but are actually a cream color. Perhaps I will try to look harder next spring. Has anyone had experience with a commonly-available brand that is a truly white zinnia?
|A few last mixed zinnias in neon colors in the North Border, which look nice with the petunias, sunflowers and shasta daisies, I think.|
Zinnias are really one of the best flowers for adding color to borders and for cutting, especially in late summer when most perennials have finished blooming already. They are very easy to grow and also inexpensive -- I grew all of these from seed packets that cost about $1 apiece (except for the special "lavender"-colored zinnias that I bought online, which cost me quite a bit more...).
Some garden designers disdain such a "common" flower, but there's a reason why old-fashioned zinnias are so "common": they grow well and flower generously, as long as you have sufficient sun and heat for them, not something in short supply in Midwestern summers. (They originally hail from Mexico, South America and the Southwestern United States, which explains their love of strong sunlight.) They are also drought-resistant, long-blooming, and require little-to-no maintenance.
If you have a sunny spot, why not toss some zinnia seeds there in May and forget about them until you see their beautiful, cheery blooms? You'll enjoy their color continuing through autumn and they often reseed the next year. What's not to like about an easy, inexpensive, colorful and long-blooming flower like zinnas?
Thanks for reading! -Beth