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What's your favorite zinnia?

bella rosa
January 31, 2019

So many to choose from. Any recommendations?

Comments (9)

  • rob333 (zone 7a)

    Benary's Giant Wine and Polar Bear. And here they are together. I think that's a Purple Prince in the back. I like him, I don't love him.

    bella rosa thanked rob333 (zone 7a)
  • zen_man

    As an amateur zinnia breeder/hobbyist, I prefer white zinnias. And I assure you, I am not a racist. Most of the zinnia colors are based or organic "dyes" of some sort, with yellow and magenta together in various proportions creating oranges, yellow oranges, and scarlets and red-oranges.

    But, as far as I can determine, there isn't any white pigment in white zinnias or white flowers in general. An artist relies on various white pigments, but I don't think that zinnias, or other white flowers, have a white pigment. Instead, they have a structural color, like snow is white but melts to clear water. I think there is some structure, possibly cellular, in white blooms that give them that white color.

    I do a lot of cross pollinations with my zinnias, and I particularly like to combine the structural white with other colors to get a "pearlescent" color effect, like in this specimen.

    The mere fact that that zinnia also has the scabious flower form is a "plus" for it. I like the scabious zinnias because their pollen florets have petal color instead of being fuzzy yellow "starfish" like with most zinnias. And I also like the pearlescent effect that structural white contributes. If it works for snow flakes, it can also work for zinnias.

    ZM

    bella rosa thanked zen_man
  • bella rosa

    Thank you both for your responses. ZM, beautiful pic!

  • mxk3

    Definitely Benary's Giant ! They are outstanding. My favorite is Scarlet - a spectacular vibrant blood red. I like to mix BG Orange, Scarlet, and Purple (or Purple Prince) for an eye-popper of a planting. I also love Purple Prince and Uproar Rose cultivars.

    Magellan is a pretty good shorter cultivar; I've only grown Yellow and Scarlet - which I didn't like much because it leaned heavily into the orange spectrum. I think the Yellow is great, though. I'm not a fan of the other shorties like Profusion - they look horrible as they fade.


    Here are some old photos from my other house. First up is Uproar Rose:


    Next we have BG Purple; the color of Purple Prince is pretty much the same:



    bella rosa thanked mxk3
  • bella rosa

    So pretty! Thank you for sharing pics of your zinnias.


  • Lisa Adams

    Wow, Zen Man! That’s a gorgeous lilac Zinnia. I read your posts regularly, and I’m so impressed by your breeding results. I’m crying “no fair”, showing me all these beautiful Zinnias that I can’t purchase seeds of:)

    I tried the ‘ Zinderella Peach’ from Johnny’s last year, but was sorely disappointed with them. Most produce single, small blooms, with non of the ‘Scabiosa type look’ I was after. I probably should have saved the seeds from the few that did look like the pictures on their site.

    I have always liked the chartreuse colored Zinnia, Envy. This year I’ll be trying some of the Queen Lime Blush, Queen Lime Red, and Queen Lime Orange seeds. I’m trying out several Zinnias from Floret, that are new to me. I purchased Senora, Mazurkia, and Aztec Sunset. I really like the look of Zinnia ‘Oklahoma Salmon’ but Floret was out of stock.

    Zinnias are great summer annuals, aren’t they? They give so much, for so little effort. Lisa

  • zen_man

    Hi Lisa,

    " I’m crying “no fair”, showing me all these beautiful Zinnias that I can’t purchase seeds of :) "

    Take up the hobby of breeding zinnias, and you can show us your own creations that we can't purchase the seeds of.

    " I have always liked the chartreuse colored Zinnia, Envy. This year
    I’ll be trying some of the Queen Lime Blush, Queen Lime Red, and Queen
    Lime Orange seeds. "

    Another good green zinnia is Tequila Lime from Burpee.

    It has a lighter green color than Envy, and a white center. This was one of my Tequila Limes that I grew indoors a few years ago.

    I suspect that Tequila Lime has some white zinnia "blood".

    " I really like the look of Zinnia ‘Oklahoma Salmon’ but Floret was out of stock."

    The German seed company, Benary, created the Oklahoma series as an improvement over the heirloom Cut and Come Again strain. Johnny's Seed Company carries separate colors of Oklahoma including Salmon.

    " Zinnias are great summer annuals, aren’t they? They give so much, for so little effort. "

    I totally agree with you.

    ZM (not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

  • Lisa Adams

    Thanks, Zen_man! I really like that Tequila Lime zinnia. Actually, I think I like it better than the Envy I normally grow. The white center really sets off the pale green color.

    Rob, I like that Polar Bear zinnia. I was looking through one of my coffee cans of seed packets last night, and guess what I found? There was an unopened package of Polar Bear Zinnia seeds! There’s no date on them, but I’m sure going to give them a shot. I don’t know why I never used them, but now that I’ve seen how pretty yours is, I’m glad I found them. They’ve been kept dry and dark in the coffee can, so I should be able to get a few to germinate.

    Mxk3, I really like your picture with the ‘Uproar Rose’ in it. I’m a real sucker for anything pink. I’m also glad you mentioned the Magellan cultivars. I never really looked into the shorter cultivars, because I always assumed that they all had small, single type blooms. Boy, was I ever wrong about that!

    Bella Rosa, I’m really glad you posted this question. Thanks to you, I’ve spent LOTS of time over the past several days discovering more zinnias than I ever knew existed! I had no idea there were so many beautiful different zinnias out there. You weren’t kidding when you said “So many to choose from.” I might have to break my promise to myself not to order any more seeds this year.

    I do wish I could purchase both the Oklahoma Salmon and the Tequila Lime seeds from a single vendor. I try to avoid ordering just a packet or two from one place, due to the shipping costs. Who am I kidding? Now that I’ve really seen how many beauties there are, I should have NO problem finding more than a single packet or two from different vendors.

    ZM, I’d love to try my hand at breeding my own zinnias. Maybe some day, when I feel caught up with my gardening chores. (Ha! I’m never all caught up.) Gardening in So CA is a year-round job, with no months off. I’m growing more plants from seed this year, than ever before.

    I love zinnias, and will be growing lots of “new to me” cultivars this year. It won’t be long before I can direct sow the zinnia seeds outdoors. I hope some of the newer varieties I’m trying this year will be more resistant to powdery mildew, the only problem I ever encounter with zinnias.

    I tried in vain to find a picture of one of my favorite zinnias, but this is the only zinnia picture I could find. I think you can see why I took the picture, though. The butterflies love them, even if they’re just plain ones! Lisa

    Photo taken on November 20, 2017

  • zen_man

    Hi Lisa,

    " I hope some of the newer varieties I’m trying this year will be more resistant to powdery mildew, the only problem I ever encounter with zinnias. "

    The Profusions, Zaharas, and Pinwheels are the only zinnias I know of that are effectively immune to Powdery Mildew. Unfortunately those all have rather low plants and medium sized or smaller blooms. There are several products that control Powdery Mildew on zinnias, but the safest that I know of is a product called GreenCure®

    " I’d love to try my hand at breeding my own zinnias. Maybe some day, when I feel caught up with my gardening chores. (Ha! I’m never all caught up.) Gardening in So CA is a year-round job, with no months off. I’m growing more plants from seed this year, than ever before. "

    Zinnia breeding can take as little or as much time as you wish. In its simplest form, simply mark your favorite zinnias in some way and save seeds from those. Little pieces of colored yarn could work for that. I use more elaborate labels. Cross pollinations can take only a few minutes with tweezers or forceps. I started small, but then got some amazing results from some of my crosses, and became "hooked" on zinnias as a full time hobby.

    ZM (not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

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