Zinnia elegans
Common Name: zinnia 
Type: Annual
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Mexico
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to frost
Bloom Description: Red, yellow, orange, pink, rose, lavender, green and white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Black Walnut


Annual. Easily grown in humusy, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Sow seed directly in the ground after last frost date and, if desired, at 2-3 week intervals thereafter until the end of June to insure a good season-long bloom. For earlier spring bloom, start seed indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost date. Some varieties are widely available in cell/six packs from nurseries (small plants that have not yet flowered are best). Plant disease-resistant varieties in hot and humid summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Set out seedlings and purchased plants after last frost date. Pinch young plants to promote compact, bushy form. Good air circulation helps prevent onset of fungal leaf diseases. Deadhead spent flowers to promote additional bloom and maintain plant appearance.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Zinnia elegans, known as common zinnia, is an old garden favorite with may cultivars available. They are bushy, leafy annuals that typically grow 1-3’ (less frequently to 4’) tall on upright, hairy, branching stems. They feature continuous summer to fall bloom in cool summer climates, but may slow down some at the peak of a typical St. Louis summer, particularly if attacked by fungal diseases. Many flower forms (single, semi-double and double) and colors (shades of red, yellow, orange, pink, rose, lavender, green and white) are available. Sizes range from small-flowered dwarfs (to 6” tall) to large-flowered giants (to 4’ tall). Ovate to lance-shaped, opposite leaves (to 5” long) clasp the stems. Excellent fresh cut flower.

Genus name honors Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759), professor of botany, Gottingen.

Specific epithet means elegant.


Susceptible to powdery mildew, leaf spots, root rots, blight and Botrytis. Watch for Japanese beetles.


Mixed borders, beds, cottage gardens, cutting gardens and containers.