July 30, 2013
Today I'm at the MSU South Mississippi Branch Station in Poplarville checking out the Zahara zinnia in the trial gardens. Zahara zinnia are tolerant of hot and droughty conditions, and that's good for our Mississippi gardens. Zahara zinnia are great choices for providing annual color in the landscape. The selections in the Zahara series are well branched to support the abundant flowering. There's a wide range of new colors including yellow, white, and scarlet. A favorite of mine is Starlight Rose. This is a bi-color selection of white petals with a splash of deep rose shining from the center. However, the deep rose coloration is variable in hot weather. But perhaps the most exciting are the double flower selections. Double Cherry has deep magenta blooms while Double Fire is a hot scarlet orange. Both double Zaharas have centers that lighten as the flowers mature. Zahara zinnia should be planted in the full sun knowing the flower color will not bleach out. In many areas of Mississippi planting in raised beds will result in superior plant growth and flowering all summer long. These are low maintenance flowering bedding plants. Transplanted in the landscape Zahara zinnia will quickly to provide a blanket of color. And one of the best features of these plants is deadheading is seldom necessary. Planting Zahara zinnia is one way to help make the summer landscape more beautiful with its season long color. I'm Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.