The photo that appears in the upper right corner of this blog contains Narrow-leafed zinnias and Knock-out Roses, both of which are two of the most hardy plant species for full summer-long color! Both plants literally bloom from frost to frost and therefore, rate very high on my list of preferred plants.
Let's start this blog with the zinnias. Narrow-leafed zinnias (Zinnia linearis) are summer annuals. Here is the skinny on them:
Botanical Name: Zinnia linearis
Common Name: Narrow-leafed zinnia
Size at Maturity: 12 - 18" ht. x 12 - 18" wide
Requirements: They grow best in full sun and are drought-tolerant once established
Foliage texture: fine, narrow leaf
Bloom color: Dark rose pink, bright orange, gold (yellow/orange), white/pale white
This plant is an annual and must be replanted every year. However, as an annual, it blooms prolifically from Spring to the first frost in Fall. I think it is best used en masse -- plant large masses of these for eye-catching impact at entrances or entry signage or where ever you want to feature something in your garden such as bird baths, statuary, etc).
The narrow-leafed zinnias have recently been hybridized and a new variety called "Profusion" is now available on the market. This "new and improved" variety has the same coloring and is slightly larger in size than the narrow-leafed variety.
I usually buy these plants by the flat in late Spring/early Summer. I amend the planting beds by adding organic material such as compost, peat, or mushroom compost. Next, I'll mix in some sort of slow-release organic fertilizer. Always, always raise up your planting beds at least four inches above your lawn areas. This does two things. First it provides good drainage for your annuals, and second, it differentiates your planting bed from any adjacent lawn areas. We'll talk more about bed preparation in another blog.I plant the zinnias about 6 to 8-inches apart in staggered rows and water them once a day for the first week. Once established, these plants will quickly take off and will need no other maintenance. The flowers of these plants will also attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.
Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder
Narrow Leaf Zinnias also make great plants for the border!
The Last Word: Basically, I have to add that there is absolutely nothing negative I can say about this plant. It is pest free and maintenance free. It's blooms are spectacular and therefore, I give it a 10 out of 10 in the annual department! If you have no gardening skills whatsoever, you will want to purchase and use this annual in your garden or container (yes, they are great for container gardening too). These plants are WINNERS!