11 Reasons To Plant Profusion Zinnias This Season
Are you on the fence about adding profusion zinnias to your garden this season? These beautiful flowers can add plenty of color to your flower garden. In this article, gardening expert and cut flower farmer Taylor Sievers walks through 11 reasons why profusion zinnias are a must-add to your garden this season!
Zinnias have long been known for their vibrant colors, heat tolerance, and ease of growing. They’re also pollinator-friendly! You’ll often see zinnias grown on the edge of a backyard vegetable garden, in flower gardens, or integrated with landscaping as well.
When Sakata Seed released the first of their hybrid zinnias, known as the Profusion Series, back in the 1990s, it appears they were instantly a hit. The breeders crossed a zinnia known for its disease resistance with one known for large, colorful flowers, and the result was a compact, disease-resistant, and colorful bedding plant.
Are you looking to try out something new in your landscaping? Are you trying to find a stunning plant for your patio pots? Read on to learn 11 reasons why you should plant Profusion Zinnias this year in your garden!
They Are Disease Resistant
Sometimes you can do all the right things to prevent disease in your garden, and it still may not be enough. Watering in the morning so that plants dry off as the sun rises higher in the sky, watering at the base of the plant instead of overhead, and increasing spacing between plants are just a few ways you can reduce disease incidence and spread in your garden.
However, another tool in your toolbelt can also be selection of disease-resistant plant varieties. Profusion Zinnias are known for their disease resistance, which makes them more likely to extend their lifespan and avoid problems that may destroy other zinnia varieties.
There are various fungal and bacterial leaf spot diseases (like Alternaria leaf spot), as well as powdery mildew, that often plague garden zinnias (Zinnia elegans). For this reason, many gardeners choose not to include zinnias in the landscape.
One zinnia species that is highly disease resistant, but not necessarily grown in landscaping often, is the narrow-leaf zinnia (or Zinnia angustifolia). Breeders from Sakata Seed crossed the garden zinnia with narrow-leaf zinnias to come up with highly disease resistant plants that are also compact in growth. Profusion Zinnia hybrids are the result of these breeding efforts!
They Are Drought Tolerant
Zinnias will thrive in a dry environment. In fact, most zinnia species will not tolerate wet or waterlogged soils for any length of time. Their aversion to too much moisture makes them an excellent candidate for areas where drought might be prevalent.
Don’t get me wrong, zinnias will still enjoy ample moisture in the garden, but they are much more tolerant of those times when it can be really dry (like mid-Summer).
Also, because they are more drought tolerant, they can withstand the quick-draining environment that containers provide. The profusion series are not as thirsty as other bedding plant alternatives that are just as colorful.
They Are Heat Tolerant
Profusion zinnias are also specifically noted for their heat tolerance! Heat tolerance is the ability to grow and produce a yield under high temperatures. Some species and varieties, while closely related, may display varying degrees of heat tolerance.
This series is touted for their excellent heat tolerance in the greenhouse and landscape, and even in areas with high night temperatures. This would make them a great candidate for that extra sunny spot in your garden or if you live in a really warm climate.
They Attracts Butterflies
If you’re a fan of butterflies flitting around your front door, then planting Profusion Zinnias in your landscaping is the choice for you! Butterflies love the nectar provided by zinnias. They are also attracted to bright colors like pink, purple, orange, red, and yellow. The Profusion series includes colors of red, cherry, orange, red, and yellow bicolor.
The shape of flowers or the amount of petals can also make a flower more or less attractive to butterflies. Butterflies prefer less petals for easier access to nectar sources.
Sometimes zinnia varieties with extra petals will actually hide nectar sources, and thus reduce the likelihood of a pollinating insect wanting to visit.
This series is semi-double, which means they have fewer petals than the full double varieties, but they still have an extra row of petals to give them that “full” look. As a result, nectar is easy to access for butterflies!
Also, having wide, flat petals is more favorable because it allows the butterfly to land on the flower.
Cut and Come Again
Profusion zinnias have the quality that all other zinnias have, and that is the ability to bloom again once the bloom has been cut off the plant (a.k.a. “deadheaded”). This characteristic is called “cut-and-come-again”.
A reason why you may want to cut the bloom off is to use it in a cut flower arrangement or because the flower has begun to fade after it has been pollinated. By simply cutting off the stem just above a set of leaves, tells the plant to send forth more flowers.
This series will bloom continuously as long as you keep the plant deadheaded throughout the growing season, but they also have the characteristic of being “self-cleaning”. In other words, if you forget to deadhead, the plant will likely take care of it for you!
Easy to Direct Sow and Grow
In the greenhouse, this series has a 90% or more germination rate. They’re also an excellent candidate for direct sowing straight into the garden. Their high germination rate makes these zinnias extremely easy to grow, even for the most amateur gardener. While saving zinnia seeds can take a little work, the higher germination rate is worth it!
Make sure that your last expected frost has passed for the season before trying to direct sow. Remember, these zinnias love heat most of all, though they can tolerate some cool temperatures.
They Are Award Winners
Several colors of the Profusion series are award winners! All-America Selections (AAS) is a national non-profit plant-trialing organization in North America that tests new varieties or varieties previously never sold to the public.
As of July 2022, AAS has awarded 8 Profusion zinnias as AAS Winners. AAS winners are chosen for their superiority in disease resistance, uniqueness, production, taste, or other factors.
The Profusion colors that are currently AAS winners are Orange, Cherry, White, Double Hot Cherry, Double Deep Salmon, Red, and Red Yellow Bicolor.
Fleuroselect is an international organization for the ornamental plants industry where industry professionals join together to test and evaluate new pot and bedding plants. Not only are Profusion zinnias AAS award recipients, Profusion Red and Profusion Double Hot Cherry are Fleuroselect Gold Medal award winners!
They Have a Compact Habit
Because the Profusion series is a hybrid cross between two species (Z. elegans and Z. angustifolia), you’ll find that this variety is much more compact like its Z. angustifolia parent.
Profusion zinnias are excellent when planted in a pot or on the border of a flower bed. They will grow anywhere from 8 inches to 18 inches tall, depending on their spacing and if they’re grown in the ground versus in a container.
They Are Long Bloomers
Nothing is better than everlasting color! This series begins to bloom as soon as early Summer and continue until Fall. Deadheading will help keep the plant looking its best. These plants have great basal branching, which means the plant is literally covered in blooms!
They are also known for their self-cleaning capabilities. This means that while deadheading may help, the plants will most often deadhead themselves, making them extremely low maintenance.
They Have Vibrant Colors
The Profusion series of zinnias is especially known for its outstanding colors!
Profusion Red is known for its unique “true red” color that doesn’t fade in the sun. AAS judges exclaimed, “JUST SO CUTE! WOW, WOW, WOW!” about Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor with its bold red center ring and bright yellow-tipped petals. The flowers Red Yellow Bicolor fade into colors of apricot, salmon, and dusty rose as the season progresses.
Profusion Double Deep Salmon is a lovely deep-pink orange zinnia and also an AAS winner. Profusion Double Hot Cherry is a stunning deep rose color with lots of petals. Even with hot temperatures, the rose color does not fade.
If you’re looking for a highly disease-resistant white zinnia with cute little daisy-like flowers, then you’ll love the adorable form of Profusion White zinnias.
Profusion Orange and Profusion Cherry are also AAS winners. Other colors in the series are Apricot, Lemon, and Fire. Profusion Fire zinnias are unusual with their sunset tones and faint-striping to the petals.
Uniform Growth Habits
When you research Profusion zinnias, the top three characteristics you’ll find are heat tolerance, disease resistance, and ideal growth habit. These plants are not only compact, but they are extremely uniform in their growth.
This is thanks to their aptitude for basal branching. Sometimes the taller garden zinnia varieties can grow erratically or flop over due to their height. Profusion Zinnias were bred for their compact and uniform growth.
Because their growth is so uniform, Profusions are ideal for landscape beds, pots, and even hanging baskets! Combine a few different colors together and you’ll have a stunning display all Summer.
If you’re looking for a flower that’s easy to grow, disease resistant, compact, and beautiful, then a Profusion Zinnia will solve all of your problems! It’s no secret that when these hybrid zinnias hit the market, they made a huge impact in the horticultural world.
Even the most amateur gardener will find success with these vibrant zinnias. The fact that almost all of the colors are award winners make Profusions an easy choice when designing your flower beds!