profusion zinnias - losing color

spitfire_01June 5, 2008

Hello all,

I had read that the red profusion zinnias will fade. They were so pretty, I had to buy a few anyway. I bought red and white. Now I can hardly tell which plant is which. The red have faded to a tannish-pinkish color. The white look like someone has poured rusty water all over them.

These are planted on the north and east sides of my house. Do you think they would do better with more sun? I'm tempted to transplant them into pots and put them on my patio.

Any ideas? (Other than ... don't buy these next year!)

Thanks,

Nin

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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Profusion zinnias are wonderful!...but they need full sun...no north side of the house...they need a LOT of sun.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 10:01PM
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spitfire_01

Thanks Linda! I am always careful to read the growing conditions on the tags. I'm sure the tags said they could stand part shade. However, I'm also learning that the printed tags aren't always accurate. Usually I know the plants that I buy, but this was a new plant to me. I have some unused potting mix and an extra container. I'll move them all this weekend and see if they are happier in a new location!

Thanks!
Nin

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 10:27PM
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Kat

Nin, the red do fade as they age, but I liked that. I had several different colors on one plant. I do like the deep color when they 1st bloom, wouldn't mind them staying like that, but the lighter ones, to me, look good. They can get pm, so don't plant them too close together.
Enjoy!

Kat

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 1:51AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Also....they probably need deadheading. The individual flowers fade and the white gets browned....snit off the blooms and you should get more blooms.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 9:42AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

I agree with Linda. The Profusion's colors fade and get brownish much quicker than "regular" zinnias. So deadheading is the solution.

MM

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 12:28PM
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vermont07(z4 VT)

This is my first year with the Profusion zinnias. I tried 4 colors. My rose color has had 57 blossoms on it at one time, in a separate planter. I deadhead them as soon as they begin to fade to bring on more flowers. Later, I will let some die off naturally and try to save the seeds.
The colors are so great; even the white, that I can't decide what to plant next year. I'll probably plant all four varieties again. I did start a double one from seed but it isn't any more special than the regular varieties.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 2:32PM
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calistoga_al

Don't be too hard on the guys who do the plant tags, they have no way of knowing where the plants will be planted. Where I live many plants calling for full sun really need some shade. Fifty miles to my west even full sun may not be enough. When you learn your growing conditions you will have to make adjustments to what is written on the plant tag or seed envelope. Al

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 12:32PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Some profusions fade more than others. The pinks are the worst (though I have not grown a red one). The oranges and apricots fade alot too. My favorites are the white and the one called Fire. It is such an intense color that even if it fades a little it's still intense.

I have never found it necessary to deadhead profusions. I normally don't see deadheads until very late in the season when they're looking ratty anyway.

Also, I'm pretty sure profusions are hybrids, so don't count on them coming true from seed. If I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 2:28PM
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maineman(z5a ME)

DB,

"Also, I'm pretty sure profusions are hybrids, so don't count on them coming true from seed. If I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me."

Profusions were created by crossing two different zinnia species, but those hybrids were sterile, so their chromosomes were doubled to make them fertile. As a result, Profusions do come true from seed, and are open pollinated in the seed growers fields. So feel free to save seeds from your Profusions, because they will come true from seed.

Incidentally, there is a new version of Profusions called "Knee High" that grow quite a bit taller than the regular Profusions. They form a hedge-like bush, that can be useful in your landscape.

And a new strain of zinnias called "Zahara" are produced in the same way as Profusions, so the Zaharas give you some more variety in this zinnia category. The Zahara flowers are 20% larger than the Profusions and they were chosen for landscaping in the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

MM

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 11:39AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Thanks, Maineman! I am so glad to know all this. I will get out and gather seeds!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 7:21PM
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iloveflowersinpa

This year I have fallen in love with Profusion Double Cherry. I grow them in full sun in Z5. I love how they fade: clear bright saturated cherry color to paler dusty pinky mauve to cream with a tinge of pink. There will be all these colors on one plant. I was delighted to learn that they will self-seed. I'm going to buy seeds anyway, just in case. I hear that zinnias are easy to grow in situ without fussing with starting indoors. Is this true?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 12:53PM
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calliope(6)

The truth is they PREFER to grow in situ.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 2:28PM
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spitfire_01

Update

I moved the ones on the North side to a sunny back patio. They did okay, but our 105-degree July weather was hard on anything in a container. The plants on the east side look GREAT now. We had an unusually cool (for us in zone 8!) May and June. I think they didn't like the cooler weather. Once the temperatures soared, they perked up and are now a mass of multi-colored blossoms.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 9:45PM
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gail968

My Profusions were fading as well. It just so happens, that my puppies trampled one end of the bed and I had to trim back a few of the Profusions rather hard. Lo and behold! The blooms on those pruned plants came back in with the vibrant colors. So I selectively pruned over the next couple of weeks and had the whole bed vibrant again.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 5:51PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Several colors in the profusion series (Zaharas too) fade pretty badly in intense summer sun and heat. Rose is worst, followed by Apricot and Orange. White is, logically, unstoppable, and so is Fire and yellow. Once temperatures cool, as in fall for us in the Deep South, the colors will return to their full vibrant glory.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 4:28PM
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kvenkat(5a Colo)

Interesting. I grew the orange Profusions this year and did not get any fading at all until about a week or so ago when it started getting cold at night. Mine got morning sun and were vibrant all summer.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 1:50AM
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siichan(6)

I have similar experience with kvenkat. I have an orange profusion too, and it still has good vibrant orange color even now. Still blooming like crazy out there in this new england weather...

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 10:53AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

There's a world of difference between full sun in zone 5 or 6 and zone 8.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 10:47AM
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kvenkat(5a Colo)

Indeed it does.
We get intense sunlight here at 6000 feet. Who knows, if my plants had been in full sun, maybe they would faded. But I am not going to experiment with that, lol!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 4:01PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

I am encouraged by this thread on the Profusion series and the Zahara zinnias. I have been making a list of Zinnias to order for next year's garden, and had included these. I just wanted to ask if anyone has observed butterflies on their Profusion and Zahara zinnias as I have a butterfly garden. I also wanted to include the Whirligigs and Old Mexico (?) zinnias as well. The butterflies prefer a single flowering type for its flat landing pad and easy access nectar.

Thanks....hope I'm not intruding.

Susan

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 3:45PM
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izharhaq

There are countless butterflies on my plants whole day long..

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 9:02AM
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zen_man

Susan,

"The butterflies prefer a single flowering type for its flat landing pad and easy access nectar."

I have mostly fully double zinnias, and they attract hordes of butterflies, skippers, and hummingbirds. Butterflies seem to have no trouble at all landing on non-flat zinnias. Butterflies do like to get nectar from the pollen bearing florets.

The hybrid zinnia Zowie is semi-double with an abundant supply of pollen florets, which are popular with butterflies. Zowie would be used more in Butterfly Gardens if its seeds weren't so expensive. Single zinnias can be charming, but they aren't a prerequisite to having lots of butterflies. And single zinnias aren't necessarily the most productive of pollen florets.

ZM

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 12:10PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Thanks for the replies! Glad to know that, ZM. I've always been told to go heavy on the singles rather than doubles.

I would love to acquire Zowie's, but as you said, they are very expensive. I keep looking and hoping they will come down in price eventually. Are they TM'd? New(er) hybrids are always much more expensive, but it seems they've been on the market for quite some time now.

I have a beautiful Zinnia that cropped up in my garden this year that I do intend to save seeds from - hopefully they will come true, but you never know when the pollinators "have their way with them", lol! Hard to describe the color as it is one I haven't seen before. Kinda pinky, purply, wine color, but absolutely stunning! I attached a photo which is the most similar color I have, but there is no name associated with it.

I also found some single flowering Zinnias recently at Burpee, called the "Pinwheel" mix, which I may order. Their Zinnia seeds are expensive, too, but in order to get the ones I want, I am willing to pay for them. I have a small garden, so don't need lots of seed like some.

Once again, thanks!

Susan

Here is a link that might be useful: Unknown Zinnia

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 8:21AM
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zen_man

Susan,

"Are they TM'd? New(er) hybrids are always much more expensive..."

The name of the cultivar, Zinnia Zowie!TM, is trademarked. Their seeds are not Plant Patented. I think that all of the seed for that cultivar is produced by Goldsmith Seeds or subcontracted by them, so they do have control over the production of the seed. For that reason I wouldn't expect any third party seedsman to grow them and lower the price of the seed.

Incidentally, Goldsmith Seeds markets a number of popular zinnia strains to plant growers. And they are a subsidiary of Syngenta Seeds who, among other things, do use genetic engineering techniques in their product development. That's not to say that Zowie!TM is a GMO -- I think it is a fairly conventional commercial F1 hybrid zinnia. I am under the impression that it would be perfectly legal to save your own seeds from your Zowie!TM Zinnia plants and grow them for your own use. Like most all F1 hybrids, they wouldn't come uniformly true from seeds, but I think the butterflies wouldn't mind the results. And you might find some interesting zinnia variations in the results.

Despite the fact that Zowie is popular and an AAS Winner, I personally don't care for its tall flower cone covered with mummified florets. I do like bi-colored and tri-colored zinnias, and I grow the Whirligig strain of zinnias (and others like it) for that reason. This was part of my Whirligig bed this Spring.

Whirligigs include some single and semi-double zinnias. The Whirligigs are also popular with butterflies, and their seeds are much more reasonably priced. You can purchase a quarter of a pound of Whirligig seed for $14.60, and that will plant a lot of space for butterflies. I like to cross Whirligigs with each other and with other zinnias.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 3:02PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Whoa - that is a LOT of seed to plant. I garden on a much smaller scale. I do have lots of butterflies, though, in my small garden, and raise Monarchs, Black Swallowtails, Pipevine Swallowtails, Tiger Swallowtails, Buckeyes, Red Admirals, Question Marks, Hackberry and Tawny Emperors, Wild Indigo Duskywings, Cloudless Sulphurs, Sleepy Oranges, Gulf Fritillaries, and several Sphingidae moths as well. But, while most all nectar plants appeal to a majority of butterflies, their larval food plants vary widely. Consequently, I draw larger numbers of butterflies to my garden by planting their LFPs as well. Some of the LFPs do provide nectar, such as Asclepias curassavica, other Asclepias species when in bloom, and others too numerous to mentions. My Zinnia patch is being expanded for next year, and I want to plant the Whirligigs among others I mentioned earlier. They are very pretty in your photo, ZM!

I did find another Zinnia type on eBay from a source I have used before for other seeds, but have never heard of it before. What do you think?

Susan

Here is a link that might be useful: Zinnia Carrousel

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 8:04PM
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zen_man

Susan,

That's an impressive list of butterflies, and your knowledge of them. Your raising of food plants for them is particularly commendable.

"Whoa - that is a LOT of seed to plant. I garden on a much smaller scale."

Well, me too. I did buy a quarter pound of Whirligigs from Stokes, but after three years I haven't planted them all. I'll probably get them all in next year. I was just pointing out an economical source of multi-colored zinnias. As you can see on the link I gave above, Stokes also sells in pkt, 1/4 oz, 1 oz, and 1/4 pound sizes. Once you go above the pkt size, you start to get some real savings in cost per seed. An ounce of Whirligigs at $3.65 might be an appropriate size for you. That would give you at least 2500 seeds.

"I did find another Zinnia type on eBay from a source I have used before for other seeds, but have never heard of it before. What do you think?"

Carrousel is just another name for the Whirligig (sometimes spelled Whirlygig) strain of zinnias. That eBay offering of 100 seeds for $2.25 is not particularly cheap. Referring to the Stokes link I gave above, you could buy 1/4 oz for $2.95 and that would contain at least 625 seeds, for a cost of less than half a cent per seed, as compared to over 2 cents per seed from the eBay site.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 6:20PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Thanks for the clarification on Carrousel and Whirligig, ZM. You're right 1/4 oz would be a great deal for me. Plus, ordering from a "known" source is less risky than from an unknown.

Yes, I have a "Monarch Waystation", which qualifies as such when you grow some milkweed species, the larval host plant for the Monarch butterfly. Their situation becomes worse and worse with each passing year due to habitat destruction. Monarch Watch, a non-profit group out of the University of Kansas, promotes the growing of their host plants by home gardeners in the hopes of replacing those lost to farming, commercial development, housing development, etc. Of particular concern is genetically modified crops such as corn and soybeans, which are herbicide resistant. Farmers can spray their crops now to rid the fields of unwanted weeds and flowers, such as milkweed, without harming these crops. The milkweed losses are astronomical. Monarchs are the only butterfly in North America that migrate thousands of miles between the Oyamel forests in Mexico and Canada each year in spring and fall. To add to tbe dilemma, illegal logging of the Oyamel trees in Mexico has destroyed many of the overwintering sites, thousands of acres, in Mexico. So, you can see our concern. Cudos go to Chip Taylor and the University of Kansas for their efforts to promote gardening for the Monarch butterflies. However, the huge populations of 10 years ago, are unlikely to ever be seen again.

If you are interested, plant a few milkweeds, many of which are native to the USA, for the Monarch.

Zinnias play into this as they are nectar rich flowers for the butterflies, beautiful and relatively easy to cultivate. Monarch butterflies love them! So do I. So it is a symbiotic relationship.

Enough proselytizing. I'm sure you see lots of butterflies in your garden.

Susan

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 7:53AM
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zen_man

Susan,

Thanks for the info on Monarchs. I knew that milkweed was their foodplant. We are pretty much surrounded by soybean fields here in rural Ottawa, and the farmers do use the herbicide resistant strains so that they can spray to kill all weeds. And I guess that would include, by definition, milkweeds.

I have seen a few wild milkweeds in some of the uncultivated areas around here, but I haven't noticed if they have or had Monarch caterpillars feeding on them. I have seen Monarchs in my zinnias as recently as yesterday but, with Winter nearly here, it is a good bet that they aren't laying any eggs on the milkweeds, which are opening their seedpods now. Maybe I will gather some milkweed seeds and plant them somewhere next Spring. The Monarch chrysalis is a beautiful thing. It reminds me of some kind of jewelry. I'll look for some milkweed seeds today.

I have seen lots of butterflies in my zinnia garden, and several kinds of skippers, and hummingbirds as well. I think the hummingbirds have all migrated south by now, as I haven't seen one in over a week in the garden or at my feeder.

ZM

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 11:09AM
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