Zinnias are admired and grown across the world, for both their unique charm and because they are extremely easy to grow from seed.
It also helps that zinnias are annual flowers, which means they provide temporary and much-needed color to any gaps or empty containers in your garden.
They also have an extended blooming period, making them one of the most popular flowers around, adding a wealth of color into any outdoor space. If the conditions are right, these gorgeous flowers can last for 60 days.
Zinnias are native to both North and South America, and are prized for their hardy beauty, as well as what they represent.
Behind The Name: What Does ‘Zinnia’ Mean?
The zinnia is named after Johann Gottfried Zinn, a German botanist and anatomist who lived until he was 32. He was the first person to detail the anatomy of the human eye, and he also recorded the Epipactis genus, which is part of the orchid plant family.
Several parts of the eye are also named after him.
The Meaning Behind the Zinnia Flower
Zinnias symbolize the deepest affection that you can hold for someone, romantic or otherwise. It’s a reminder that you care for them, and that life would not be the same without them in it.
Zinnia flowers also represent celebration, reunion, or a significant separation.
The meaning behind the zinnia flower is so multi-layered that it can also be dictated by the color of the flower itself.
Green Zinnia Symbolism
Green zinnias represent prosperity, a personal journey or growth, new beginnings, a celebration of success, and general good luck.
Orange Zinnia Symbolism
Orange zinnias symbolize family ties, the will to succeed, optimism for the future, and a wish that the recipient has every success waiting for them.
Pink Zinnia Symbolism
Pink zinnias represent all forms of affection, as well as femininity, joy, and a kind nature.
Yellow Zinnia Symbolism
Yellow zinnias often symbolize optimism, vitality, platonic love, and having all the future and its possibilities in front of you.
Red Zinnia Symbolism
Red zinnias more often than not symbolize romance or deep desire. They also represent a life well-lived, and success.
White Zinnia Symbolism
White zinnias are synonymous with grace, innocence, a period of healing or personal growth, tranquility, and remembrance.
The Cultural Significance behind the Zinnia Flower
While zinnias are often grown today for their plethora of color and beauty (see also How To Grow Zinnias), there’s also some historical significance behind these gorgeous flowers, adding an enigmatic quality to them.
In the Victorian era, green zinnias were given as a hope of developing a friendship with the recipient.
Red zinnias confessed the deepest feelings of desire and being unable to imagine life without someone.
Yellow or white zinnias were reserved for friendships, and sadness at a separation. Orange zinnias were symbols of joy, celebrating a revitalized connection with someone after time apart.
In some parts of Mexico, (and this will tell you how long zinnias have been around for), the Aztecs referred to the zinnias as ‘plants that are hard on the eyes’. In certain lights, the color of zinnias were too bright if the sun was on them directly.
When the Spanish saw these flowers, they called them ‘mal de ojos’, which translates as sickness of the eye. It’s unclear whether they simply didn’t like the flower, or whether they thought it was too bright, like the Aztecs.
What Does A Zinnia Flower Tattoo Mean?
Zinnia flowers aren’t as popular as a tattoo subject when compared to roses, or peonies, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hold their own in terms of symbolism.
Zinnia flower tattoos can represent a specific person which it honors, representing the profound connection between two people, which may or may not still exist.
Depending on the color of the zinnia within the tattoo, it can also represent romantic love, friendship, hope for the future, or a symbol of a great achievement or ideal.
When Is A Zinnia Flower A Good Gift?
Zinnia flowers are perfect for when you want to convey your deepest feelings for someone, or that you’re overjoyed to see them after a long time apart.
They can also be used to represent a separation or a celebration of achievement. If someone dear to you is moving away, a zinnia represents both the importance of the connection between you, and your best wishes for the future.
Zinnias are also suited to cheering someone up when they’re going through a difficult period in their life. Your gift is a message that you’ll always be there for them, as well as expressing your deepest wishes for a change in their fortune.
They are the best gifts when you largely can’t find the words to express how you feel, so you can let the appropriately-colored zinnia do the talking for you.