Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Zinnias are among the very popular cut flowers. These are easy to grow in cut flower gardens. Here are some recommended award winning varieties.
Zinnia elegans Queen Series
Initially introduced in 2009, the Queen Red Lime was a top performer at cut flower trials at the Bear Creek Farms cut flower gardens in Oklahoma, located in zone six. To protect the plants from bad weather, these were grown under shade.
The Queen Red Lime plants are over 2½ feet in height with a spread of nearly 1½ feet. These are upright, full, vigorous, well branched plants with strong, sturdy stems.
The Queen Red Lime flowers are beautifully double. These are bicolored with two types of frilly petals. While the outer ones are mostly maroon to deep pinkish-rose, the inner ones are pale lime green. They begin flowering about ten to twelve weeks from the time the seeds are planted. The cut stems have a long vase life.
The Queen Lime is similar except that the blooms are pure chartreuse. Otherwise they resemble those of Queen Red Lime.
The Zahara series, which feature single blooms, was released before the Zinnia Zahara Doubles. Be careful when buying seeds as both kinds are available. So, decide which you want and order accordingly for your cutting garden.
The Zaharas with their single type blooms were originally displayed during the 2008 Olympic Games in China. Tolerant of heat, drought, and disease, these superior plants bloom throughout the season. They have non-fading flowers that are 20% larger than comparable zinnia types.
The series includes a number of colors, including Fire, Scarlet, White, and Coral Rose as well as Yellow, a pastel.
The Zahara Starlight Rose was named a 2010 All-America Selections winner, and also received a Fleuroselect Novelty award. This has bicolored blooms with rose towards the base and white near the ends of the petals.
Fire was named a 2009 Japan Flower Selections, and received a special prize for its superior performance.
All of the Zaharas have very large, single blooms. The plants are 1½ feet tall with a matching spread.
The Zaharas are available as two different seed mixes. The Bonfire Mixture includes Scarlet, Yellow, and Fire. Rasyberry Lemonade Mix, which is new for 2011, has Starlight Rose, Yellow, and Coral Rose.