Thursday, July 12, 2012

Zinnia to Sunflower!?!

Orange Zinnia Photo By Phyllis
Last year my husband and I grew some giant zinnia bushes (they were taller than me and I'm about 5'7" tall) from a wildflower seed mix. The above photo is of a flower from one of those bushes. The flowers attracted butterflies, bees and a nice variety of birds, including yellow finches. We entered flowers from these zinnia bushes into two local county fairs and they won first prize in their categories at both fairs. We loved these zinnias so much we wanted to grow them again this year so we saved plenty of seeds (for ourselves and our gardening family members and special friends).

Well, now that the first of the plants is blooming (in my dear friend Renee's yard) it turns out that even though these seeds came from orange zinnia plants they look like yellow sunflowers!

Yellow Zinnia / Sunflower Photo By Renee
How wild is that? I had heard that zinnias were called "Mexican sunflowers" and I knew that seeds don't always produce plants identical to the mother plant but I had no idea that an orange zinnia could produce something so very sunflower like. This year's plants are a lot shorter too so it's not just hte flowers that are different. Even the height of the bushes and size of the foliage is different (the leaves on the yellow flowered zinnias are bigger than those that were on the orange flowered zinnias). It looks like we won't have any orange zinnias to enter in this year's fair but I can't wait to see our yellow sunflower like zinnias bloom. Have you had any garden surprises like this? I'd love to hear about them!

Yellow Zinnia / Sunflower Bush Photo By Renee

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