Sometimes flowers take a while to catch on. Consider the zinnia. This popular annual flower was first discovered in its native Mexico by the Spanish. They thought it was so unattractive they called it “mal de ojos” or sickness of the eyes. Not a great beginning for a flower. But after years of breeding, the zinnia has been transformed into one of my favorite summer bloomers.
Professionals classify zinnias by their flower shapes and there are lots of them. You'll see references to single, cactus, dahlia, button, and double zinnias. And they come in all colors of the rainbow.
Some of my favorites are the profusion zinnias with their small, mounding habit, single and double flowers and variety of flower colors and zowie! yellow flame for its bright yellow and red colored flowers on a two-foot tall plant.
If you have trouble with powdery mildew disease, try the Oklahoma series. These double, button-type flowers come in colors such as salmon and yellow. Spray Serenade organic fungicide or a baking soda mix now on zinnia varieties that tend to get powdery mildew to preventive this disease.
Although zinnias are planted from seed or transplants in spring, it's not too late to pop some into the ground for a fall flower show. They need full sun and well-drained, fertile, moist soil. While zinnias look outstanding in their own bed and make an excellent cut flower, we like to mix them in the perennial garden to add color when perennials aren't blooming well. We also grow them in the vegetable garden for beauty and to attract beneficial insects and butterflies.