Family: Asteraceae
Common name: Zinnia

If you have a patch of Zinnia flowers in your garden, I bet nobody will be able to take their eyes off them, not even you! That’s how pretty Zinnia flowers look in bunches. Each plant produces only a few flowers, one on each flower head. But growing them together is when the magic happens.

Zinnia plants vary in height from 10 to 100 cms, crowned by beautifully-colored symmetric flowers. The flowers range in color from pink, red, white, orange, lilac, violet, magenta, purple, bronze and even green. There are some flowers with a combination of colors; striped or speckled.

The leaves are always arranged opposite each other without stalks; growing directly on the main stem. Zinnias are annual plants, withering away after an intense blooming season. But each season can give you enough seeds to start the next batch.

There are numerous cultivars for Zinnia; based on flower color, number of petals and height of the plant. The most common species is Zinna Elegans. Most Zinnia plants grow upright, but some fall to the ground and spread around. The stems are not very strong and might need support once the plant is in bloom. Flowers range from single-flowered Zinnia having petals in a single row, with the center clearly visible; or double-flowered Zinnia having numerous rows of petals with no visible center.

Zinnia plants are mostly grown as ornamental plants. Though their bright colors attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden, aiding in pollination of other plants as well. Zinnias need bright sunlight for blooming. So never attempt to grow them indoors.

Propagation is from seeds.

Photo Courtesy: Public Domain Pictures, Durga Prasad

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