A green space for urban gardeners

Evolution of a zinnia: popular garden flower gets bigger, better every day

DSC00714When I showed you this first photo of my zinnia “envy” bloom a few weeks back, I was quite impressed with its pastel lime-colored splendor.

DSC00761It appears, however, that I may have rushed things a little, because time

proved that it was only phase one of this sturdy garden flower’s coming of age — and each phase was striking unto itself.

The first shot reveals a flatter flower, with only about three layers of petals that curl inward and have a decidedly green hue.

The second photo, taken several days later, shows the same flower, adding more layers of petals at its center (click on the images to enlarge for a closer look) and taking on paler more yellow tones, too.

In the final shot, you can see that the shape of the flower has changed a lot through this evolution: it’s now morphed into a rounded flower, with much more depth due to the multiple layers of petals.

You’ll notice as well that in this third picture the green tint, which gives this zinnia its common name, is most pronounced on the younger petals unfurling at its eye.

So, from a green, showy fresh blossom to an impressive mature specimen, there is much to envy in this popular garden flower.


Note: I’ve grown this annual for several years now in my balcony container garden, and it seems to do well when sown directly outside. Zinnia is nice for adding height to the rear or center of containers.

This is the second green-toned variety I’ve tried (“tequila lime was the first), but it comes in many colors… Let me know your favorite.


  Jo wrote @

I think the Zinnia gets even better as it matures. I am going to grow some next year on the allotment to bring home for cut flowers.

  City Diggity wrote @

They would be great in a cutting garden since they grow so quickly and have really strong stems. If I ever have the luxury of being able to grow one, I’ll include zinnia.

  Keewee wrote @

This is an unusual shade for a Zinnia.
Thank you for stopping by Keewee’s Garden. The little pink flower you asked about appears to be a Verbascum, and was given to me by a friend. It sure is a pretty little flower.

  MrBrownthumb @Chicago Garden wrote @

Love Green Envy, my favorite of all the Zinnias.

  Stephanie wrote @

Avis, how was your weekend? Every stage of this zinnia is beautiful. Glad that you posted these pictures 🙂 I saw some orange/yellow flowers like the one in your last photo selling here. I always think that they are marigolds. Next time I better examine carefully first before concluded the type of flower 🙂

  City Diggity wrote @

The zinnia really amazes me. I am actually having second thoughts about that bright orange flower being the cosmos. (Remember my seedling labels washed away, so I’ve been backtracking trying to id some plants.) It does look like marigold, but thing is I didn’t plant any orange marigold… I’m going to take another look and hopefully update and write about it in a future post. Thanks

  Stephanie wrote @

Ha ha… the other flowers that look similar to me are crysanthemum and dahlia 🙂

  Jean wrote @

I haven’t grown zinnia in a while but your post makes me wish I had. I had forgotten how interesting each bloom could be. Also, how many butterflies they attract. Do you get butterflies up on your balcony?

  City Diggity wrote @

Even though I plant things that should attract butterflies, I don’t really get them on my balcony. I see maybe one per season. I always make a joke of it and say, “my butterfly is back.” This year I haven’t seen him 😉

  Christine wrote @

I love zinnias and the myriad ways they continue to unfold. Sadly, mine haven’t done well this year but I’m hopeful for the next one. Lovely shots!

  Lynne Jordan wrote @

Zinnias are a wonderful, sturdy – I once popped someone in the head with a zinnia on its stem and it survived – and happy looking flower!

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