Zinnias in the garden - description, types, use
Among annual plants, few in combination of bright colors with endurance and unpretentiousness can compete with the legendary "majors". Zinnias, which experienced a decline in popularity at the beginning of this century and managed to be on the list of “obsolete” plants, again attract the admiring attention of amateurs. They are not as capricious as their competitors, but look on flower beds, in borders and discounts irresistibly. Decorating a bright summer, zinnias surprise with new varieties and increasingly large colorful inflorescences, creating a colorful background and filling the gardens with a special mood. This article will talk about the most popular types of zinnias, as well as about their use in garden design.
- Description of Garden Zinnias
- Types of Zinnia
- The use of zinnia in garden design
- Selection of partners for zinnia
Description of Garden Zinnias
Among the representatives of the Astrov family many cultures have earned the status of classic. And zinnias are some of the true nostalgic stars that can boast centuries of their rich history.
In nature, zinnias are found only in Central and South America. They can be considered one of the basic “Mexican” flyers along with marigolds and calendula. But zinnias have become fashionable, mainly due to popularity in the USA, where most modern varieties come from, and the main ideas for using this plant in the design of gardens.
Zinnia received its botanical name in honor of the professor who first brought the plant to Europe back in 1796 - Johanna Zinn. Folk nicknames of zinnia are no less popular than its official name. Majors or flowers of officers, flowers of panichy, majoriki, flowers of Mexican Aztecs, panichy, Cossack women - hard and strong stems of these flowers, crowned with bright inflorescences, a proud look and stamina fully justify their names.
Zinnias - grassy annuals and perennials grown only as annuals, have amazingly powerful shoots. In their homeland, zinnias develop as shrubs and often surprise with their vitality. These are quite fast-growing summers, the height of which varies from 30 to 90 cm. Erect, hard, stable stems of this plant, depending on the variety, can be painted in classic green or purple tones.
Zinnia foliage is not the most attractive feature, but it will not spoil the appearance of the plant with proper care. Oval-ovate or lanceolate, with a hard edge, matte, with a beautiful pointed tip, the leaves sit on the shoots opposite, and sometimes in whorls. The fairly light color looks refreshing and bright, and the grassy shade blends perfectly with the lawns.
Zinnia blooms are typical of the entire family, but still its baskets of inflorescences are easily recognized in the company of relatives. Reaching in diameter from a minimum of 3 cm to a maximum of 15 cm, apical single baskets are rarely simple, flaunting terry to varying degrees.
Reed flowers with a serrated tip can be either linear or curl up into a tube, they are quite wide, bend beautifully, sit tightly. Central tubular flowers are small. It is worth paying attention to the tiled, multi-row wrapper. Depending on the variety, terry baskets cause associations with other garden plants - chrysanthemums, dahlias, scabioses.
The flowering period of zinnia is traditionally in the summer, but the timing of different varieties can vary significantly. Zinnias do not necessarily bloom from June to August. Early flowering varieties are as beautiful as medium or late flowering varieties, appearing on the scene only in July.
Thanks to the selection of different varieties, the flowering of zinnias can be stretched from the beginning of summer to frosts, creating a stunningly bright floral relay race.
The color form of modern zinnias is not at all boring. These plants surprise with the brightness and richness of the classic “summer” colors, but at the same time their nuances and shades remind of rare pastel colors. White, yellow, orange, pink and red tones in the most “fruit” variations of zinnia look almost pastoral, but not dazzlingly bright.
Shades of zinnia surprisingly successfully combine with each other, different varieties complement other zinnias always and in any composition, which in many respects served as the reason that this plant is most often sold with mixed mixtures.
After flowering of zinnia, pretty seeds of fruits of an unusual wedge-shaped, flattened form ripen. Seeds ripen well even in the middle lane; they retain their germination capacity up to 4 years.
Types of Zinnia
About two dozen plant species are included in the genus Zinnia, but only two varieties can boast of high decorativeness. Species zinnias are still actively used in landscape design, although selection broadens the selection of selective forms and hybrid varieties.
Zinnia graceful (Zinnia elegans) — the most popular type of garden and shearing zinnias. Large ovoid leaves, strong shoots and a large selection of varieties from undersized, 30 cm high, to tall ones, almost 1 m high, are the undoubted advantages of this plant.
Bright reed flowers, creating original baskets of the most diverse shapes, decorate the composition with their bright colors. The inflorescences of this zinnia are reminiscent of pompons, and gaillardia, and dahlias, and chrysanthemums. This fast-growing type of zinnia on sale was previously presented mainly in mixes of varieties, but today more and more often you can find in catalogs new luxurious varieties that allow you to create your own “set” or flowering relay yourself.
Zinnia narrow-leaved (Zinnia angustifolia) differs from the favorite of zinnia in elegant mainly lanceolate foliage. This is a much more compact annual, which cannot demonstrate the same variation in height in varieties. The average height of narrow-leaved zinnias is about 30 cm. Bushes are dense and branched seem more densely leafy. Smaller inflorescences are not a hindrance to decorativeness. With a diameter of only 4 cm, the baskets are brightly colored with original color or with original spots at the ends of the petals. This is a very persistent summer, blooming from midsummer to frost.
Both species zinnias and their numerous varieties are much more common than hybrids obtained by crossing these plants. The range of hybrid varieties is expanding, they are the main innovations in the zinnia market, conquering, first of all, with their excellent resistance to weather.
Hybrid zinnias, which are easily distinguished by the F1 marking in the name of the variety, are low, densely branched plants with medium-sized, but bright inflorescences. Greens in hybrids look more neat than conventional zinnias.
The use of zinnia in garden design
In landscape design, zinnias are constantly experiencing periods of oblivion, then general admiration. Today they are considered as one of the basic summer books, finally appreciating all their decorative virtues.
There are few stylistic restrictions on the use of zinnia in garden design. Majors are still perceived as long-standing, historical cultures, when used correctly, their nostalgic nature is fully revealed. But to consider zinnias relevant only in retro projects or country style, as flowers for “grandmother's” flower beds, would be a big mistake.
The color palette and stamina allowed Zinnia to return to modern design styles. This summer book fits perfectly with the trends of the natural garden (because Zinnia cannot boast of an impeccable appearance), and with all the fresh trends of minimalistic projects.
Zinnias are ideal flyers for a lazy garden.
They make it possible to introduce seasonal accents even in those projects in which they want to simplify care as much as possible and reduce the amount of work in the garden in favor of productive relaxation. Drought tolerance, endurance, bright flowering with minimal care make zinnias one of the best candidates for the modern "economical" garden.
Zinnia is one of the indispensable plants for compiling mixborders. Variegated and vibrant mixed rabatki with her participation acquire a new sound. But even on flower beds or flower beds, it will not be lost. Using zinnia, you can mask voids, set bright seasonal accents, add new motifs and enhance the fiery red palette.
Also in the design of the garden, zinnia is used:
- in borders and for framing the front edge;
- in patterned landings, arabesques;
- for flower beds from summers;
- spots on the lawns;
- in arrays and landscape groups;
- in background landings;
- to create camouflage or screening lines (tall varieties);
- in mix design, on decorative beds or for introducing flowering plants into the garden.
Zinnias retain their decorative effect and endurance when grown in container culture. They look great in flower boxes and potted gardens, are some of the easiest to grow summers, with which you can decorate a relaxation area or terrace. For growing in pots and crates, low-growing varieties of zinnia are used.
Zinnia is one of the valuable cut plants.
For cultivation for cutting, mainly high varieties are used. Zinnia is great in bouquets and allows you to create compositions with a bright summer palette. Cut zinnia inflorescences in the morning, immediately cauterizing the ends of the stems or making a second cut in hot water. In order for them to stand in bouquets for a long time, the inflorescences must open at 2/3 or 3/4.
Zinnias attract butterflies, fit well into special flower beds for pollinating insects.
Selection of partners for zinnia
When choosing companions for bright and hardy zinnias, first of all, you should pay attention to the contrast of flowering. Zinnias look great in compositions composed tone to tone, but the shape and flowering nature of neighbors should always contrast with their baskets.
In the company of other "basket" inflorescences, with the exception of landscape and trembling cosmea, zinnias always look somewhat messy. Powdery sage with its fiery inflorescences and fluffy shields of ageratums, perfectly contrasting in palette and texture, are rightly called ideal partners for zinnias. But verbena, calendula, and marigolds look no worse next to zinnias.
The combination with autumn asters and chrysanthemums "works" if you select the varieties of partners with narrow, folded into a tube petals or small inflorescences. Zinnias can become a successful addition to any "village" and landscape perennial - phlox, lofant, oregano, monarda, catnip.
Do zinnias grow in your garden? What plants do you combine with? Tell us about it in the comments to the article or on our Forum.