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Zinnia is a graceful and unusual representative of the Astrov family, who came to Russian gardens from the permitted forests of North and Central America. The genus contains many perennial and annual flowering herbs, as well as shrubs, however, only 2 low-growing species have taken root on the territory of Eurasia: Graceful and Narrow-leaved. The genus became truly famous after the first blooming plant in weightlessness, which turned out to be zinnia, on the ISS.
All species of this plant have common features:
- the height of the inflorescences is from 30 to 90 cm;
- leaf blades of a lanceolate shape with a slight pubescence, located on the stems in the opposite order;
- inflorescences are single, in the form of apical baskets with a diameter of 3 to 14 cm;
- peduncles smooth, thickened at the top;
- receptacle conical;
- the wrapper of baskets is tiled, multi-row;
- flowers outside reed of various colors, internal - tubular, color varies from yellow to brown.
The main advantage of zinnia is its long flowering. After sowing in the ground or planting seedlings, it begins in mid-June and continues until the start of frost.
The best varieties for growing in the garden
Before gardeners who decide to decorate their plot with flowering plants, there is truly a limitless choice. Even if we take two especially popular varieties of this culture - elegant zinnia and narrow-leaved, it will be very difficult to determine. And all because these flowers, in addition to species diversity, have a fairly extensive group gradation. In stores you can find seed material of plants of the following groups:
- zinnias dahlias;
Zinnia: growing and care
All of them differ in height and diameter of inflorescences, the appearance of flowers and petals, color, depending on the variety. The following varieties are considered the most popular:
|Grade name||Species affiliation||Group||Color, flower size|
|Orange kenig||Graceful||Dahlia||Large baskets up to 15 cm in diameter are painted red-orange|
|Jowita||Graceful||Dahlia||Large inflorescences with velvety petals of maroon color|
|Kirke||Graceful||Dahlia||Bright yellow spherical inflorescences|
|Lilliput jam||Graceful||Pompoms||Spherical dense inflorescences of all shades of yellow, orange and pink flowers|
|Thumbelina||Graceful||Pompoms||The flowers are small, various shades of red and yellow-orange|
|Chippendale||Narrow-leaved||Chrysanthemum||Maroon flowers with a rich orange rim|
|Star yellow||Narrow-leaved||Chrysanthemum||Sunny yellow daisies|
|Profusion||Graceful and narrow-leaved zinnia hybrid||Chrysanthemum||Cute "daisies" in various shades of yellow and red|
The largest sizes are varieties belonging to the group of dahlia zinnias. Pompoms, on the contrary, grow in the form of compact spherical bushes. Due to such a variety, these flowers are widely used in landscape design.
The use of zinnia in the design of the flower garden and garden
Zinnias - real garden wagons. They look great in any floral arrangements, as well as adorn themselves with plain greenery. These delicate and at the same time vibrant plants give special beauty to mixborders. For this, tall varieties are placed in the background. Together with them it is recommended to plant flowers of the genus Astrov, as well as marigolds, bells and small-flowered chrysanthemums. Especially nice such compositions look surrounded by rural landscapes.
Low-growing zinnias with various shapes and sizes of inflorescences are ideal for borders and balcony gardening (when planting plants in containers and flowerpots). In some places they are planted between beds with vegetables and herbs, under the walls of greenhouses and other outbuildings.
How to grow zinnia
Zinnia is characterized by unpretentiousness and high endurance to adverse growing conditions. The only thing that flowers do not tolerate is short-term spring frosts. When the temperature drops to 0 degrees, young seedlings can die. The plant reacts positively to sunlight and heat, so they select sites that are lit at least 4 hours a day by direct sunlight.
Zinnia soil prefers moderately loose, with sufficient nutrient content. On sandy, stony and clay substrates, flowers grow low, with small peduncles and pale-colored flower baskets.
This plant is propagated mainly by seeds. In the southern regions, direct sowing in the ground is practiced, and in the more northern regions (middle lane, Siberia and the Urals) - sowing for seedlings. The timing of sowing seeds in the soil depends on the air temperature in the growing region:
- in the area of the Black Sea coast, sowing can be done from mid-April;
- in the northern part of the Caucasus region and the Volga region - not earlier than the beginning of May;
- in the Non-Black Earth Region and the Middle Strip - in the second or third decade of May;
- in Siberia and the Urals - in the first decade of June.
For seedlings, zinnia is sown 3-4 weeks before planting in the ground. In the southern regions it is worth doing this in mid-April, and in the more northern - not earlier than the end of April, beginning of May. Shoots appear very quickly, for 2-3 days. Before placement in the ground, seedlings can not be dived, but be sure to deepen the sprout during planting.
Zinnias are quite tolerant regarding the proximity of neighboring crops. However, for normal growth and development they need enough space. When landing in a permanent place, it is recommended to use the following schemes:
- for tall varieties - 20 cm between plants in rows, at least 40 cm between rows;
- for medium-sized varieties - 20 cm in rows, up to 30 cm between them;
- for undersized compact varieties - 10-15 cm in rows, at least 15 cm between them.
Zinnias practically do not need special care. All they need for active growth and flowering is watering in the first two weeks after planting in the ground. Subsequently, they will have enough moisture in the form of precipitation. Plants are not needed at all during the growing season. To form full-fledged inflorescences, and later seeds, the gardener needs to fill the soil with mineral mixtures for flowers from autumn. The basis of flower care in summer is weeding and loosening of soil after rainfall.
Zinnia: sowing seeds for seedlings
Zinnias resemble miniature suns to many gardeners. Indeed, the bright glare of these pretty "daisies" can decorate and warm the most inconspicuous corners of the garden. Caring for them is more than simple, so even a beginner grower will cope with it.