© RHS / Joanna Kossak



Botanical name: Zinnia

Plant breeders have treated us to a rich colour range of velvet-petalled zinnias. Their single or double flowers make great bedding or container displays and are long-lived cut flowers. These tender annuals are at their best in the latter half of summer.


Single zinnias, especially the small-flowered ones look like daisies, while the giant doubles are more dahlia-like. Available in a wide range of single or mixed colours such as cool greens and white or vibrant pinks, reds and oranges. Some even combine two colours. Zinnias also vary in height, dwarf forms being suited to bedding, the taller for use as cut flowers.


Zinnias love sunshine and warmth. They like to be well-watered but also need a well-draining soil type. They perform best in a good summer.


Think heat, sun and summer moisture for zinnias, so avoid heavy, wet soils, cold and shade. They are also loved by slugs, especially at seedling stage.

Did you know?

Single-flowered zinnias with their open centres are very attractive to pollinating insects. For good flowering be ruthless with your dead heading but gentle when cutting blooms for vases. Stems are hollow and easily damaged – probably the reason you don’t see them often to buy in the shops, even though they have a long vase life.

Growing guide

Zinnia we recommend

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Useful advice

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Borders: revitalising an over-mature bed

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Container maintenance

Container maintenance

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Containers: summer selection

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