Zinnias are bold, bright annuals that bring pops of long-lasting color to the garden. These gorgeous blooms make brilliant cut flowers that can also brighten up your home. Zinnias come in a range of pastel shades, and some cultivars even have bi-colored flowers with intricate patterns. Each color also adds a subtle twist to the meaning and symbolism of zinnia flowers. In this article, we’ll take a look at what colors zinnia flowers come in and investigate the symbolism of each color.
- Zinnia Flowers – The Essentials
- About Zinnias
- 7 Popular Zinnia Flower Color Varieties
- Wrapping Up
Zinnia Flowers – The Essentials
Zinnias come in 7 primary colors; pink, purple, orange, red, yellow, green, and white. Some zinnia cultivars also have bi-colored blooms that combine standard colors. Zinnias represent romantic and platonic love. Zinnias also represent thoughts of absent friends and symbolize reunion.
Family & Genus
The Zinnia genus belongs to the daisy family (Asteraceae) and is part of the Heliantheae or sunflower group. Horticulturalists recognize 22 species of zinnias, including Zinnia elegans and Zinnia angustifolia. These two species, along with Zinnia haageana, are used for breeding a colorful array of zinnia cultivars.
Native Range & Habitat
Zinnias are mainly native to Mexico, but some species come from Central and South America and the Southwestern United States. These flowers grow pretty happily in arid, sunny conditions in these areas. Primarily, zinnias are found in habitats such as grasslands, shrublands, or prairies.
Zinnias are flowering annuals that grow in clumps, although some species grow as sub-shrubs or shrubs. Zinnia flowers emerge from tall, stout stems, with each stem supporting a single bloom. Most zinnias grow between 1 and 4 feet tall, but dwarf cultivars usually reach between 4 and 12 inches tall.
Zinnia flowers can be single, double, or semi-double, with banks of overlapping petals surrounding central florets. These flowers come in several pastel shades, including pink, purple, orange, red, green, and white. Most zinnia varieties have a long flowering season lasting from early summer until the fall frosts. Organic pesticides are beneficial throughout the growing season to ward off common zinnia flower pests and diseases.
Zinnias are also non-toxic for humans and pets, so you can safely grow them if you have cats or dogs.
Meaning & Symbolism
Zinnias symbolize both romantic love between partners and platonic love between friends. Zinnia flowers can also represent celebration and reunion. In the language of flowers, zinnias communicate thoughts of absent friends. The Victorians believed that orange zinnias symbolized a reunion between friends.
Uses & Benefits
Zinnias make fantastic cut flowers (in addition to dried and preserved flowers) because they have sturdy stems and can last up to 12 days in a vase. Single or semi-double zinnias also attract beneficial pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and hummingbirds. Keep in mind that most insects will struggle to access double-flowered zinnias.
Zinnia flowers are also edible and can be used as salad garnishes, although they do have a slightly bitter flavor.
The Zinnia genus was named in honor of the 18th Century German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn. Zinnias are also as well traveled as their namesake – zinnias were the first flowers grown in space! A team of scientists stationed on the International Space Station successfully grew an orange zinnia in 2016.
Care & Maintenance
Zinnias are low-maintenance plants that are easy for everyone to grow. These flowers need approximately 6 hours of full sunlight daily and fertile, well-draining chalky, loamy, sandy, or clay soils. In addition, Zinnias do best when watered about once a week. Deadhead spent flowers during the blooming season and boosts flower production by fertilizing once every one or two weeks.
7 Popular Zinnia Flower Color Varieties:
Pink is a popular and common zinnia color, and pink zinnias have a range of meanings and symbolism. In the language of flowers, pink zinnias traditionally symbolize love and affection and are usually linked to the love between friends. What’s more, pink zinnias also represent gentleness and grace, making them excellent floral gifts for close friends.
Varieties of pink zinnias include:
- Zinnia ‘Double Zahara Raspberry Ripple’ – Part of the ‘Zahara’ Series, this cultivar has gorgeous pink double flowers. The light pink contrasts with the dark pink raspberry stripes in the center of each petal.
- Zinnia ‘Double Zahara Salmon Rose’ – This ‘Zahara Series’ cultivar produces wonderful salmon pink double flowers and blooms from early summer until fall.
- Zinnia ‘Illumination’ – This gorgeous variety dazzles with bright pink double flowers. ‘Illumination’ can grow up to 3 feet tall and flowers from early summer until fall. It’s an excellent variety to grow in a container.
Purple zinnias have a dramatic, regal appearance thanks to their rich magenta or violet petals. Like many purple flowers, purple zinnias symbolize elegance, royalty, and success. The Victorians used magenta or purple zinnias to communicate desire and romantic love to lovers, spouses, or prospective partners.
Some popular purple zinnia varieties include:
- Zinnia ‘Benary’s Giant Purple’ – This regal zinnia grows up to 4 feet tall and produces double purple flowers that can be 6 inches wide. This variety comes from the ‘Benary’s Giant’ Series and flowers productively from early summer until fall.
- Zinnia ‘Giant Violet Queen’ – This elegant cultivar wows with large dark purple double flowers that can be 5 or 6 inches wide. ‘Giant Violet Queen’ grows up to 3 feet tall and flowers from mid-summer to fall.
- Zinnia ‘Purple Prince’ – ‘Purple Prince’ produces rich purple flowers with bright yellow central florets. Growing up to 3 feet tall, this variety flowers from early summer until fall.
Orange zinnias are fiery, bold flowers with various symbolic meanings. Most commonly, orange flowers can represent energy and power, ambition and success, or enthusiasm and positivity. According to the Victorian flower language, orange zinnias communicate love to friends. Orange zinnias can also symbolize bonds between family and friends.
Orange zinnia cultivars include:
- Zinnia ‘Double Zahara Fire’ – One of the coveted ‘Zahara’ Series cultivars, ‘Double Zahara Fire’ has blazing orange and red flowers. These zinnias don’t require deadheading and bloom from early summer until fall.
- Zinnia ‘Orange King’ – These zinnias produce bright orange double flowers and grow between 3 and 4 feet tall. ‘Orange King’ is bred from Zinnia elegans and flowers from early summer until fall.
Like other red flowers, red zinnias represent love, beauty, and passion. Red zinnias can also symbolize good health and success. The Victorians believed that giving someone a red zinnia conveyed your desire and romantic feelings for them.
Red zinnia varieties include:
- Zinnia ‘Cherry Queen’ – This enchanting zinnia cultivar produces rich red flowers with golden yellow central florets. ‘Cherry Queen’ can grow up to 4 feet tall and flowers from early summer until fall.
- Zinnia ‘Profusion Double Red’ – Part of the ‘Profusion’ Series, these zinnias have deep red double flowers. ‘Profusion Double Red’ is a self-cleaning zinnia, so you don’t need to deadhead it.
- Zinnia ‘Red Spider’ – This variety comes from Zinnia tenuifolia, one of the 22 recognized species of zinnias. Its single red flowers are borne on compact stems that reach between 2 and 3 feet tall.
Yellow zinnias have strong associations with friendship. According to Victorian symbolism, yellow zinnias were messages of platonic love and affection for friends. If you missed one of your friends, a yellow zinnia was seen as the perfect way to let them know. Yellow zinnias can also represent energy and joy.
Here are a couple of yellow zinnia varieties:
- Zinnia ‘Magellan Yellow’ – Part of the ‘Magellan’ Series, these zinnias produce large double yellow flowers. ‘Magellan’ Series zinnias are bred to have a long flowering season from early summer to fall.
- Zinnia ‘Zahara Single Yellow’ – This gorgeous variety has pale to bright yellow single flowers with orange central florets. Like other ‘Zahara’ Series zinnias, this variety is resistant to disease.
Although not as common as other colors, green zinnias are no less vibrant or symbolic. Green zinnias are associated with growth, success, and wealth. What’s more, green zinnias are also used to celebrate new beginnings.
Green zinnia varieties include:
- Zinnia ‘Envy’ – These gorgeous zinnias produce lime green semi-double flowers with lobed petals. One of the coveted heirloom varieties, ‘Envy’ grows up to 3 feet tall.
- Zinnia ‘Queen Lime’ – Part of the ‘Queen Lime’ Series, these zinnias have bright green double flowers that resemble dahlias. These zinnias grow up to 2.5 feet tall from early summer until fall.
White zinnias symbolize purity and peace and can also represent elegance, healing, and recovery. In Victorian flower language, white zinnias were used to declare affection for friends. White zinnias were also associated with friends who were missing each other.
Some popular white zinnia cultivars include:
- Zinnia ‘Crystal White’ – ‘Crystal White’ is a dwarf zinnia variety with single pure white flowers and orange central florets. It’s excellent for containers because it only grows between 8 and 12 inches high.
- Zinnia ‘Polar Bear’ – This gorgeous zinnia has white snowball-like double flowers that grow up to 4 inches wide. These zinnias flower from early summer until the frosts arrive in fall.
Zinnias are available in seven beautiful pastel or bright colors such as pink, purple, orange, and green. Zinnia flowers can be single, double, or semi-double, and some are even bi-colored. Each zinnia color is rich with meaning and symbolism, providing plenty of choices for flower bouquets or gifts. In most cases, red and pink zinnias represent romantic love, while yellow and white zinnias symbolize platonic affection.
For more, see our in-depth guide on how to grow zinnias in pots and containers.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.