Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Zahara Zinnia are great choices for fall color in the landscape today on Southern Gardening. Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
When choosing summer annuals, Zahara Zinnia are tough to beat especially because they will continue to look good through the fall season. They are tolerant to droughty conditions and have resistance to powdery mildew that can plague other Zinnia varieties.
The selections in the Zahara series are well branched and will grow up to eighteen inches tall and equally wide. There is a wide range of color from white to coral rose. A favorite of mine is starlight rose. This bi-colored selection has white petals with a splash of deep rose shinning from the center. The deep rose coloration is variable though. Perhaps the most exciting are the double flower selections. The double cherry has deep magenta blooms while double fire is a hot scarlet orange. Each have centers that lighten as the flowers mature. Zahara Zinnia should be planted in the landscape in the full sun.
A key feature to these plants is that the flower color does not bleach out and grown in bright sunlight. Amend the bed with three to four inches of good quality compost to create a well-trained soil with good fertility. A two to three-inch layer of mulch after planting will help to preserve soil moisture. Even though Zahara Zinnia are tolerant of droughty conditions, during periods of extreme drought, supplemental irrigation needs to be applied. Overhead irrigation should be avoided. The use of soaker hoses and other drip type systems are a superior and more efficient method to maintain soil moisture.
Planting Zahara Zinnia is another way to make the fall landscape more beautiful.
I’m horticulturist, Gary Bachman with Southern Gardening.
Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.