Zinnia is a genus of the family Asteraceae, containing about 20 species of annual and perennial plants, native primarily to North America with a few species in South America. The most popular species is “Zinnia elegans”, which is native to Mexico.
These easy to grow plants produce beautiful, large mixed blooms that come in an array of colors, hues, shapes and sizes. The plant is often cultivated in butterfly gardens because of its ability to attract butterflies and birds.
The genus name is given in honor of the German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727 – 1759).
Zinnia is a symbol of endurance because it blooms from mid-summer all the way until frost.
It also symbolizes lasting friendship, goodness and remembrance.
Interesting facts about Zinnia:
The Ugly Duckling Became A Beautiful Swan
Zinnia was not so popular before. Before it became popular, it was considered small and ugly.
The early Spanish explorers did not consider them attractive and gave them the name “mal de ojos”, which is Spanish for “sickness of the eye”. In the 18th century, they brought these “ugly” flowers back to Europe. Today, these beauties are one of the most popular and most liked garden plants!
Zinnias in Space
Zinnia is the first ever flower grown in space, outside the Earth’s biosphere.
In January 2016, NASA released images of a Zinnia flower blooming aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Although they are not the first flowers on the ISS, Zinnias are the first grown flowers from start to finish in an official NASA mission.
The process of growing the Zinnias would help scientists to better understand how plants grow in microgravity. Gioia Massa, science lead for Veggie at NASA, said: “The farther and longer that humans go away from Earth, the greater the need to be able to grow plants…I think that plant systems will become important components of any long-duration exploration scenario.”
Zinnias in the USA
Zinnia was the state flower of the US state of Indiana from 1931 to 1957.
Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs
These flowers are known for their vivid colors. They are often multi-colored and may be yellow, orange, white, red, pink and purple.
Zinnias range in size from dwarf species that only grow 17 cm (7 inches) high to vigorous types over 120 cm (4 ft) tall.
Zinnias prefer fertile and moist, but well-drained soil, with a pH level between 5.5 and 7.5.