Top 10 Zinnias for 2017

From brash to subtle – a Zinnia to suit every garden

Zinnia Queen Red Lime
Zinnia Queen Red Lime. Picture; Dobies

Those blousey, overblown barmaids of the borders, Zinnias, have been named Flower of the Year 2017 by Fleuroselect.

That didn’t sound very respectful towards the blooms, but I have to be honest, they’re not my favourites.

Still, I felt I should take a more detailed look at this popular summer flower.

It’s fair to say that there’s so many hybrids and varieties, you’ll find one to suit your style – and their drought tolerance makes them a good choice in drier areas.

A few Zinnia facts:

  • Native to SW USA to South America, with majority of species native to Mexico.
  • Named after German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn.
  • Z. elegans the most common garden half-hardy annual.
  • Drought tolerant.
  • Means ‘thinking of absent friends’ in the language of flowers.
  • Orange Zinnia bloomed on the international Space Station in 2016 – but it wasn’t the first plant to flower in space.
  • Popular with hummingbirds in the Americas, it’s used as a companion plant against whitefly.
    Can have problems with powdery mildew.
  • A favourite of butterflies.

Here’s my top 10 picks from what’s on the market for next season:

Queen Red Lime, Dobies, www.dobies.co.uk, £2.50.
This one I do like very much, part of the Rob Smith range. Pastel shades of red/pink, brushed with lime green. Need free drainage and full sun. Combine Queen Red Lime with Achillea and Gypsophila. Height 60cm.

Mammoth, Higgledy Garden, www.higgledygarden.com, £1.95 (50 seeds).
Wonderful double flowers on strong stems, a great range of colours and easy to grow. Height 75cm.

Zahara Rose Starlight, DT Brown, www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk, £2.99.
Pure white flowers streaked with rich pink in the centre. Drought, heat and humidity tolerant. Height: 45cm.

Zinderella Peach, Thompson & Morgan, www.thompson-morgan.com, £3.49.
Orange blooms with cream and rose detailing. Height 90cm.

Solmar Mixed F1, Mr Fothergill’s, www.mr-fothergills.co.uk, £3.99 (20 seeds).
British-bred, with large flower heads which last well with good heat and drought tolerance, and excellent disease resistance. Height 45-60cm.

Jazzy Mixed, Plant World Seeds, www.plant-world-seeds.com, £3.20.
Bi-coloured zinnias produce masses of semi-double, inch and a half, red-tipped burgundy daisies in the sparkling colours, blooming into late autumn. Height 45cm.

Sombrero, Mr Fothergill’s, www.mr-fothergills.co.uk, £2.35 (50 seeds).
Single-flowered, red and white, jam tart-like blooms through summer and into autumn. Height 35cm.

Fireworks Mix, Suttons, www.suttons.co.uk, £1.99 (average 120 seeds).
Large double flowers, long-lasting and gaily coloured. Height 75cm.

Old Mexico, Marshalls, www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk, £2.99. (100 seeds).
Fiery hues of chilli reds and golden yellows give a rustic charm to beds and borders. Ideal for cut flowers. Height 45cm. (Not pictured.)

Mazurkia, Chiltern Seeds, www.chilternseeds.co.uk, £2.20.
Award-winning new variety with cream-tipped scarlet flowers. Height 90cm.

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