The Zinnia Genus

Zinnias come from the daisy plant family, Asteraceae, and hail from North America, with a few other types coming from South America.

It’s not a large genus, made up of about 20 different species of tender perennials and annual plants.

The one you’re most likely to come across is Zinnia elegans, which is native to Mexico, and is grown all over the world for its ornamental beauty.

Zinnias At A Glance

Zinnias are one of the easiest plants to grow from seed, and provide plenty of color into any garden, while attracting beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, birds, and hoverflies.

It may not surprise you to learn that zinnias come from the sunflower tribe within the daisy family, with their sun-loving flowers available in bright colors.

Zinnias are available in many shades, including pink, yellow, white, red, and green.

You can also get bicolored or even tricolored blooms too, if you find you can’t decide, or you want something a little different.

It’s interesting to note that while zinnias are very popular today, this wasn’t always true.

Spanish explorers who saw the flower described it as tiny, and didn’t think much of it, calling it mal de ojos, which translates as sickness of the eye, or eyesore.

This demonstrates how attitudes can shift wildly over time, as they couldn’t be more popular than they are today, thanks to their beauty, easy-going care, and the ease of hybridizing them. 

In 2016, NASA made the zinnia the first flower to be grown from seed in space, which will help us understand how plants may grow in places with very little gravity, which would be vital to our survival in space.

What Does Zinnia Mean?

The name Zinnia honors Johann Gottfried Zinn, a German botanist who lived in the 1700s. Not only was he a celebrated botanist, but he was also an anatomist, famous for having provided the first detailed anatomy of the human eye.

Symbolism And Meaning Behind The Zinnia Flower

Zinnias are synonymous with resilience, as they flower from summer all the way into fall, for as long as the weather will allow.

Zinnias also represent friendship which endures difficult times, remembrance, and the good things in the world.

The flower’s meaning also depends on the color, and as there are so many colors available, this means that the flowers have a multi-layered symbolism to them.

For a detailed breakdown on what zinnias signify, visit Zinnia Flower Meaning And Symbolism

Growing Requirements

Depending on the type you go for, zinnias may be annuals, tender perennials, or even shrubs.

They’re hardy in USDA zones 2 through to 11, and are happy in containers, beds, and mixed borders.

Some can grow as small as 17cm tall, while others can get as tall as 4 feet, depending on the species you pick.

Zinnias like well draining, rich soil which stays moist, and need full sunlight in order to thrive. They’re not very demanding when it comes to irrigation, and ask even less of you when it comes to maintenance.

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