Zinnia, though it is used as a common name of a flower sold in the U.S. it is really the name of the genus. It includes annuals, sub-shrubs that are native to South and North America. Zinnia is part of the Asteraceae family of plants. The name is a reference to Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759). He was a German botanist.
Species in the genus Zinnia have opposite leaves. They are linear or ovate. The flowers could be single or double and double-shaped. They range in colors from white to yellow, pink, red, orange and purple.
They are popular garden flowers. They are easy to grow. Grow them in the sun and plant them in humus-rich, fertile and well-drained soil. They do self-seed.
The flower sold as Zinnia is usually the Zinnia elegans and it is a wonderful border flower. It thrives in the sun and produces beautiful, colorful flowers. There are other species equally beautiful. The Dahlia flowered varieties, the Chrysanthemum–flowered, Mammoth-flowered varieties, Zinnia elegans grow to 2.5 to 3 ft. Zinnia mexicana and Zinnia pumila, Zinnia haageana varieties are about 1 ft. Thumbelina or Zinnia angustifolia is a shorter 6″ high variety. They flower from July to fall.
Zinnias do well in warmer weather and sun and require good garden soil. The flowers range in colors red, white, pink, salmon, yellow, orange, purple, lavender, and rose. Lookout for mildew in foggy locations you can grow from seeds plant where you plan to grow them.
Feed and water Zinnia generously but don’t sprinkle water on the plant, just water the soil around the flowers.