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Zinnias that step back in time ... small, easygoing.

For the small-flowered, informal look of wildflowers, certain old-fashioned zinnias are favorites. Like the more familiar hybrids, they thrive in dry summer heat, but their easygoing habit blends more casually with other plants in borders and bouquets.

Here we show three zinnias and one pretender. Now is the time to plant all four. Few flowers grow faster and more easily. Choose a sunny, well-drained site. Scratch the soil, add little or no fertilizer, scatter seeds, and just barely cover them. Keep moist. Seeds should sprout in one to two weeks. Thin seedlings 6 to 12 inches apart. Watch for bloom in six to eight weeks. Water by flooding, if possible; sprinkling overhead encourages mildew.

Four flowers that take the heat

'Chippendale' and 'Old Mexico' are similar except in flower form. 'Chippendale' has a single ring of broad, rounded petals (rays). 'Old Mexico' has fluffy double flowers with narrow pointed tips. Its coloring is sometimes reversed--gold at the base with maroon tips, or almost pure golden yellow. Flowers are about 1-1/2 inches wide, on 2-foot bushy plants.

'Classic' zinnia has wiry, tousled stems that trail attractively from hanging baskets or over the edge of walls or raised planters. Place three plants in a 10-inch pot; or mass them in borders, spacing them about 8 inches apart. Plants mature to about 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide.

In fall, when most hybrid zinnias are succumbing to mildew, this zinnia is still in peak form, blooming exuberantly into November in mild-winter areas.

Creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens) looks and grows like a zinnia, but is an impostor. Dark-centered, golden yellow buttons bloom from early summer into fall. Space 4 to 5 inches apart for dense coverage as a small-space ground cover. Or plant several in a large hanging basket.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1985
Words:297
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