To Inspire, Transform & Heal

Linda Wiggen Kraft
Creativity for the Soul

The Winner Is Zinnia

As usual, I  experienced plant lust when I visited the Missouri Botanical Garden last weekend.  It was a new flower I had only seen in catalogs.  A zinnia with the most beautiful dusty rose petals, bright pink purple center and a light lime green edge on the new emerging petals.  It is called Queen Lime Rose.

zinnia queen lime rose photo linda wiggen kraft
Zinnia Queen Lime Rose with Dusty Rose Petals, Green & Purple Center

Of all the plants I swoon over when I look into their lovely mandala like faces, zinnia is perhaps my most favorite.   Zinnias are like the Eliza Doolittles of the garden.   They seem to come from such common origins. It begins with  a tiny hard working seed that anyone can stick in the garden ground.  They grow like a weeds, quick and easy.  Then when they start to flower they give more and more of these elegant amazingly diverse blossoms that take your heart away.

A few years back I wrote an article in my gardening column for The Healthy Planet, titled The Winner is Zinnia.  I still feel the same and next year another new winner will be Queen Lime Rose zinnia.  The article is below.

Zinnia flowers mandala centers red, orange, pink photo linda wiggen kraft
The winners are zinnias, with their mandala flower centers

The Winner is Zinnia  If there were a contest for favorite flower, the winner in my opinion would be zinnia. Zinnias have round centers with radiating petals that appear innocent looking and joyful.  They bring childlike pleasure to all who come in contact with them.  In fact these feelings of innocent joy are exactly what the flower essence “zinnia” imparts in flower essence therapy.

I love zinnias for their ease of growing, abundance of flowers and vast variety of colors, sizes and shapes. Perhaps the inner child like feeling that zinnias manifest is due to the simplicity of growing them.  Zinnia seeds can easily be put into sunny garden soil in late spring and still have time to grow and blossom for up to four months before a frost. In this day and age when most of the flowering annuals and perennial plants in our gardens come already grown in pots, what could be simpler, cheaper and more miraculous that putting a seed into the ground and being rewarded with bouquets of flowers throughout the rest of the garden season?

zinnias just cut from garden photo linda wiggen kraft
Zinnias just cut and placed in vase in garden

Zinnias are a cut flower lover’s dream.  The more the flowers are cut and deadheaded the more they bloom.  My favorites for cutting are the Benary Giant and State Fair zinnias that grow five to six feet tall. Each four to six inch blossom grows on a long stem that is perfect for a large vase.  These zinnias are resistant to powdery mildew and bloom up until frost.  The newer Magellan and Short Stuff zinnias have large flowers but the plants only grow about eighteen inches tall.  These short zinnias along with the shorter Profusion series and Zinnia Angustifolia series make perfect front of the border plants.

three pink zinnias with mandala centers photo by linda wiggen kraftSoft white is the lightest zinnia color. Pastels and bright colors of peach, orange, yellow, pink, red, and purple fill out zinnia’s palette.  Stripes and patterns of different colors dazzle the eye. The flowers of zinnia range in size from a quarter to blossoms over six inches across. Their shapes vary from cactus flowered to dahlia shaped to a perfect round.   I prefer to use one color of each type of zinnia in different parts of my gardens.  The deep purple of Benary Giant Purple accents the peach orange of Livin Easy Roses with both flowers hovering about five feet tall near each other.  In other areas I pick colors that will compliment existing perennials and enhance each flower’s impact.  I plant the seeds in mid to late May. They start blooming in about five to six weeks.  The keep on blooming until frost, winners in the world of gardening every year.

zinnia bud pink flower photo linda wiggen kraft



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