In Texas, the dog days of summer are not kind to the roses. Fewer, faded blooms that shrivel in the noonday sun are the most we can hope for. So what’s a gardener with a penchant for cut flowers and an abundance of heat and sun to do? Plant Zinnias.
Unlike most flowers that wilt in the heat of our Texas summers, zinnias seem to thrive on heat. In fact they prefer a sunny location. These beauties are in all day sun in my community garden plot. I planted them by seed in June and within 3 weeks I was cutting my own blooms. I have found through trial and error that zinnias do much better by seed than from nursery starts.
I planted a variety called “Cut and Come Again”. They aren’t lying. These pretty flowers reward my need to fill my house with cut blooms by blooming even more prolifically. What’s not to like about that?
Here’s a pretty bouquet of zinnias I cut this morning. I love all the flower forms and the rainbow of cheerful colors. They also look really pretty with the Ichiban eggplant I harvested (zinnias vegetable counterpart in terms of heat loving and easy care).
If beautiful blooms and low maintenance growing needs aren’t enough to convince you to plant zinnias, they are also a fantastic attractor of pollinators.
This little carnelian honeybee is just one of the few pollinators I have seen on these plants. The native bees and butterflies are just as attracted to these bright blooms. If you have a vegetable plot dependent upon pollinators, planting zinnias is a genius idea since most heat loving vegetables share the same needs. You may think it a waste of space in the vegetable garden but a gardener with a plot bordering mine was commenting on how there were no bees pollinating the squash in her garden. At this point in the season, my garden is producing more squash than I can eat. And I owe it all to the zinnias.