What to Plant with Zinnias

butterfly on fuchsia zinnia
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What to Plant with Zinnias

What’s Not to Like About Zinnia Flowers? 

Zinnias are a favorite flower of gardeners everywhere. These flowers provide a kaleidoscope of color in the garden that can’t be beat. They are very easy to grow and, in fact, are perfect as an introduction to the fun of gardening. 

Zinnias are very low maintenance plants and reward you with a bounty of flowers from early summer to late fall for your lack of effort! Seriously, the only thing you will have to do is water if there isn’t much rain.

Zinnias come in all sizes, from small plants perfect for a border to plants that are over three feet tall and hold the flowers on long stems perfect for cutting. The more you cut, the more this plant will produce. Not sure you can handle all that color in your garden? 

Not to worry — zinnias come in pastel shades also and there is even a green zinnia. Zinnia seeds can be purchased packaged as a single color or color mixes, so they will fit right in with a formal garden or a casual country garden.

red zinnia and purple salviared zinnia and purple salvia

What to Plant with Your Zinnias

As you can see, this flower is quite versatile to be included in any garden, but what should you plant with your zinnias? Here are just a few suggestions for you to consider, including:

1. Vegetables — This is probably not what you expected, but most vegetable gardeners include flowers in their vegetable gardens. We all know there has been a dramatic decrease in the bee population. Gardeners need to do everything they can to attract the pollinator and help them to survive.

Because zinnias start blooming so early, they are the perfect choice. Everyone wants to have the earliest tomatoes and lots of other vegetables. To get both, you have to attract the pollinators to your garden and zinnias will do the job. Plant a few next to your Whopper tomatoes or your eggplant and squash plants.

The bees and other pollinators can’t miss them. If that’s not enough, the zinnias will deter pests like the tomato worms and cucumber beetles while attracting the predatory wasps. These wasps are the enemy of tomato and tobacco worms.

As an added bonus, because zinnias are such a sturdy plant, the flowers provide a great landing spot for butterflies. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot more butterflies in your garden.


2. Grasses — Grasses and other plants that don’t have colorful flowers themselves will make a perfect backdrop for the colorful zinnias. Whether you have grasses that are green, purple or blue, the zinnias planted with them will make both look better for the contrast.
Not only will the color contrast be attractive, but the form contrast is ideal. The grasses will gently sway in the wind while the zinnias will provide stability.

3. Dusty Miller — This plant is grown for its foliage, not flowers. Dusty Miller has foliage that is silvery white and gives a great resting place for the eye when used in a bed of colorful zinnias. There are several varieties of Dusty Miller.
The main difference between them is the size and the amount of laciness of the foliage. This plant likes a well-drained sunny location just like the zinnias and is also a low maintenance plant. Both plants will do well in a container garden as well.

4. Salvia — Salvia plants can be annuals or perennials. Both types of salvia plants have tubular flowers that are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. Plant the salvia as a backdrop flower to your dwarf zinnias and help to bring all the pollinators into your garden.
Most of us recognize the red salvia, but salvia also comes in purple, pink and other color combinations for you to mix and match.

5. Alyssum — A container garden full of zinnias will look stunning with a border of alyssum draping over the edge of the container. Alyssum grows in a mound that is covered with tiny flowers. Choose a white alyssum which will be a great contrast to a mixed color planting of zinnias or any specific color choice you have made. There is also a very popular purple alyssum that would look beautiful with matching zinnias.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to make the zinnias a must-have plant this year.  You can choose from one or all the suggestions above to plant with this flower in any of your garden beds.