The Zinnia: the butterflies' flower

The  Zinnia is an ornamental plant native in South America and belongs to the genus of the Asteraceae widely held today in areas with warm climates. This is a very resistant plant, present in nature in different species both annual and perennial with a height variable from 50 to 100 cm depending on the variety.

The   Zinnia prefers exposure to the sun, a mild climate and soft and dry soils: it is a plant that can stand the heat, nor any of drought. In nature there are many species of zinnia: herbaceous or shrub, and seed with a significant variety of shapes and colors of the flowers: the stems can be single elongated and branched, or even form of bushes height of between 30 cm (commonly known as dwarf zinnias) and 150 cm (also called zinnias giants). The leaves, even with different shape, have always rough to the touch of green color not too dark, while the flowers, which do not emit any scent, may have the petals arranged in one or more files and variables colors, also with particular mottling, as white, orange, yellow, red, lilac or purple. The only color that does not exist in the Mexican zinnia is blue, while the strain "Envy" has the distinction of having the largest green petals.

Cultivation

 

The Mexican zinnia is a plant that lends itself perfectly to the use of decorative flower beds and gardens in general: its cultivation is in fact quite simple, requires no special care and treatment, and has a rapid and vigorous growth. The peculiarity of the zinnia is to offer abundant blooms and very scenic from June to late October and is precisely why its use is widespread in both private homes and public gardens, parks and avenues edging. The zinnia is reproduced through the sowing (also the seeds produced from the plants themselves which, in contact with the ground, can germinate again), while it is not possible the multiplication by cuttings. The ideal time to sow Mexican Zinnia is from February to April, between the end of winter and spring: you may want to plant them initially in a protected environment and then transfer them outside in May. If you prefer to direct the external sowing is preferable to wait until the weather is sufficiently mild and temperate and therefore between April and May. In case of sowing zinnia of the type with single stem it is preferable to plant them in a rather close for a better visual effect. Care zinnia is very simple and easy to manage: it does not require frequent watering and is preferable to wait until the soil is completely dry between a 'watering and the other. Fertilization can take place once a month or less, using fertilizers not too much nitrogen loads to avoid the risk of burning the plants.

The butterflies' flower

 

The flowers of zinnia  so special shapes and colors, are said to be very well appreciated by butterflies that are strongly attracted: for this and for its scenic and choreographic aspect frequently comes planted and cultivated also in the public gardens.

 

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