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Fall is for Zinnia

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 2:00am

Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist

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Most years in October, Zinnia gives us some of the best annual color today on Southern Gardening.

Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Many gardeners, me included, are refreshed with the cooler temperatures. Many of our summer flowering annuals that were looking pretty worn out at Labor Day, get a second wind and perk right back up. One of my favorite fall flowering summer annuals, are zahara and profusion zinnia that produce mounds of colorful flowers. The plants are robust and have excellent branching to support the many flowers. Now, as gorgeous as the zahara and profusion zinnia are in the fall, they just take a backseat to cactus flowered zinnia.

Cactus flowered zinnia may seem like a new type for the landscape, but actually, these are heirloom zinnia and have been around since the 1920s. The flowers have a completely difference texture than you may be familiar with. Each fully double flower displays masses of thin, almost needle like petals. There is a range of long lasting flower colors, but I don’t think you can ignore the presence of the variety called Inca with its spectacular, vivid blazing orange flowers.

Typically these plants will grow to three inches tall with sturdy stems. And the stems need to be sturdy because each flower can be five set in diameter. With the onset of cooler temperatures, supplemental irrigation needs will be greatly reduced. If you do irrigate your fall zinnias, use soaker hoses as an efficient method to maintain soil moisture. So go ahead and enjoy the fall resurgent’s of your zinnia in your landscape.

I am horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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