Zingy Summer Zinnias
Zinnias belong to a small family of flowering annuals that originate from Central America, most commonly, Mexico. They have become invaluable in our notoriously hot South African summer garden, and are available in almost every conceivable shade. Extensive hybridization has resulted in a veritable smorgasbord of colour, size and shape. Cultivars range from lower-growing, 30cm 'dwarf' varieties with miniature flowers, to lofty, meter-high specimens, with large, luxurious blooms. The velvety heads grow individually on sturdy stems, and can produce single or double blossoms. The flowers are characterized by ruffled, crinkly or curly petals, and may be bi-coloured. Zinnias add a blaze of colour to the hottest and sunniest parts of the garden, and once established, tolerate some drought, and extremely hot conditions with ease.
Zinnias will grow to best advantage in a planting medium which is enriched with compost and a well balanced fertilizer. They will benefit from generous watering, particularly during hot weather and dry spells. The plants show themselves to great effect in massed displays, feature flower beds and decorative pots on the patio. Create lustrous, textured herbaceous borders, by teaming zinnias with alyssum, lobelia, ageratum, salvia and statice. Zinnias will grow almost anywhere, although they prefer some protection against cold and strong winds. You can begin planting out your seedling towards the middle of spring. Add new batches every six weeks to ensure a rich, on-going supply of glorious variety. The plant's pointy, decorative, foliage, and glamorous, multi-coloured flowers, offer unparalleled delight, and enduring charm in the summer garden.