As we are now over halfway through winter, it's a good time to get your flower seed orders in. If you're looking for something easy to grow, zinnias are a great option for adding bright color to your summer landscape. They're tolerant of hot temperatures and the newer varieties are increasingly resistant to mildew. Zinnia seed can be started indoors or - even easier - directly sown in the garden after the danger of frost has past. Selecting a variety for your garden can be overwhelming with all the choices. Let's look at which ones have performed well in the K-State trials!
Profusion and Zahara series
For season-long landscape performance, the 'Profusion' and 'Zahara' cultivars are great choices. Both of these series have single and double-flower options and many different colors available. The growth habit of these Zinnias is compact enough to also work in large containers.
Zinnias for cutting
Zinnias are excellent flowers to plant in cutting gardens - they are cheerful additions to any bouquet! The 'Benary's Giant' series comes in many colors and has large diameter flowers on tall (3+ foot) plants. 'Oklahoma' zinnias are a little smaller, but are also loaded with bright flowers. The longer stem length and extended vase life of these cultivars are the qualities that make them ideal commercial cut flower crops as well as an excellent choice for our home gardens.
We get questions about the zinnias pictured on our banner, 'Queen Lime' and 'Queen Red Lime.' The color scheme is not for everyone, as the muted colors do not jump out in the landscape, but they make great cut-flowers.
Miscellaneous good ones
'Bridesmaid' has performed very well in the trials; it displays big double flowers without the leggy growth habit of some other zinnia cultivars. The plants are long-lasting and give a powerful pop of color with the bright yellow blooms.
'UpTown Grape' has only been trialed one year, but so far it looks to have great potential. It has a short growth habit like the 'Profusion' and 'Zahara' series, but the flowers are borne on longer stems, making them stand out above the foliage. Fantastic! The stems are long enough that you can cut some for flower arrangements, though the primary function of the plants would be landscape use.
'Dreamland Red' was impressive in the 2013 K-State trials. They displayed incredible vigor and put on quite a show of large colorful blooms on fairly compact plants.
A zinnia with a different texture is 'Star Orange,' which has very narrow and delicate-looking leaves with great vigor and super floriferousness.
We run the annual and perennial flower trials for Kansas State University