I'm a professional gardener, and these are the bright and brilliant zinnia varieties that you should grow this year

I have grown zinnias in many gardens, and while there are many different varieties to choose from, these 3 options pack a floral punch

(Image credit: Getty Images/Alex Manders)

Zinnias are one of the best cut-and-come-again flowers to grow. Bold and bright, zinnia blooms are no shrinking violets, demanding attention from gardeners and passersby with their brilliant coloring.

There are many beautiful zinnia varieties to choose from, and whether you are an experienced gardener who already knows how to grow zinnias, or maybe you are a beginner gardener looking for a striking and impactful flower for your backyard, there is certainly a zinnia variety to suit you.

As a professional gardener, I have grown zinnias in several gardens where I have worked. Here, I share some unusual varieties that are colorful and dramatic. Ranging from deep purple to lime green, if you are seeking flower bed ideas, these are the zinnia varieties that will spice up your flower garden this year.

Zinnia flowers in pink and red

Zinnia blooms can be found in a mixture of colors, from white to red to pink

(Image credit: Getty Images/glennimage)

Best zinnia varieties to grow

'There are many attractive zinnia varieties for gardeners to pick from, all of which will bloom for most of the summer,' says plant expert, Katie Sunderlage. 'Typically, zinnias thrive in full sun and tend to be heavy drinkers, so watering is important.'

These annuals can be grown almost anywhere, regardless of US hardiness zones, and you can grow them in pots, which is an ideal option if you have a smaller yard, terrace or balcony.

'To keep zinnias flowering, it is very important to prune off any blooms that are spent or withered back,' Katie adds. 'By removing the spent blooms - or deadheading - more energy will be put into creating new buds.'

Katie Sunderlage
Katie Sunderlage

Operations Manager at Holland Group, managing the customer service department and purchasing. Katie has been in the green industry since 2005 in the Greater Milwaukee area, earning her degree in Horticulture in 2008. She has been able to share her love for plants working in multiple garden centers, in sales positions and most recently in an online retail platform at Holland Group.

1. Zinnia 'Queen Lime'

Zinnia 'Queen Lime' blooms

Zinnia 'Queen Lime' blooms, available from Burpee

(Image credit: Burpee)

Lime green flowers are unique, and while subtle, these 2 to 3-inch blooms have an elegant beauty. If you are planning a cut-flower garden, Zinnia 'Lime Green' is one annual that I recommend you grow. Zinnia seeds can be planted outside after the last frost, up until early summer.

These green blooms contrast excellently with pink plants, such as verbascums, foxgloves or dahlias. As with all zinnia plants, deadheading is crucial to maximize and extend bloom time. Once the flower stems begin to fade, snip them off just above a leaf node, and within a week or two, a new flower stem will begin to shoot and produce a new bud.

Zinnia 'Queen Lime' seeds are available to order online from Burpee.

2. Zinnia 'Color Crackle'

Zinnia 'Color Crackle' with red and green blooms

Zinnia 'Color Crackle' blooms, available from Burpee

(Image credit: Burpee)

With burgundy and white double blooms, I think that Zinnia haageana 'Color Crackle' is one of the best annual flowers to grow. Blooms measure approximately 1 to 2 inches in size, and by learning how to deadhead zinnias, the flowering period will last right up until the fall.

This zinnia variety, similar to most other zinnia varieties, is considered drought tolerant, although I have typically found that they perform much better with consistent watering.

I have grown zinnias in many gardens where I have worked, and while they can survive just fine without frequent drenchings, I would suggest that you give your annuals a soak at least once a week. Doing so will certainly help the plant to produce more blooms.

Zinnia 'Color Crackle' seeds are available to buy online from Burpee.

3. Zinnia 'Amethyst Treasure'

Zinnia 'Amethyst Treasure' with purple-pink blooms

Zinnia 'Amethyst Treasure' with purple-pink blooms, available from Burpee

(Image credit: Burpee)

These double-flowering purple zinnia blooms will steal the show in your cutting garden. This variety is slightly more compact than others, maintaining a shorter, bushy form.

The violet blooms measure approximately 3 to 4 inches in size, and they are sure to draw attention when paired with bright white blooms, such as white foxgloves, poppies or delphiniums.

As a shorter-stemmed variety, Zinnia 'Amethyst Treasure' can be placed in smaller vases when used as part of floral displays indoors. When snipping stems, remember to place your cut flower stems in water as soon as possible, before stripping the lower stems of foliage and arranging them with other homegrown blooms.

Zinnia 'Amethyst Treasure' seeds are available to buy from Burpee.


Can I grow zinnias in a pot?

Yes, zinnia plants can be grown in pots. You can sow zinnia seed directly in containers where they are to grow from April through to June. Use a good quality potting soil mix and remember to water your zinnia plants frequently. Pot plants can quickly dry out during the warm summer months, so be sure to check on your flowers every day.

These vibrant and unusual zinnia varieties are sure to add impact to your flower garden this year. For more zinnia-growing advice, see our guide on how to keep zinnias blooming, for all the information you need on deadheading, fertilizing and watering zinnias.

Thomas Rutter
Content Editor

Thomas is a Content Editor within the Gardens Team at Homes and Gardens. He has worked as a professional gardener in gardens across the UK and in Italy, specialising in productive gardening, growing food and flowers. Trained in Horticulture at the Garden Museum, London, he has written on gardening and garden history for various publications in the UK.