Texas Bluebonnets, Texas Lilac Vitex, Flare Hibiscus, Shantung Maple, and ‘Natchez’ Blackberry – What do these plants have in common? They are among the list of Texas Superstar plants that have been tested and selected by Texas A&M AgriLife Research for their great performance in the Texas landscape.
And now, there is a new superstar on the block that you should try growing this fall. It is the Zinnia marylandica. According to Dr. Brent Pemberton, AgriLife Research ornamental horticulturist and head of the Texas Superstar board, “They have all the fall colors you like to see: oranges, apricots and yellows.”
Marylandica types include the Profusion and Zahara series. They bloom prolifically and grow as tall as 12 to 18 inches, with individual flowers potentially becoming 2.5 inches in diameter. Their compact and bushy growth habit creates mounds of color that are ideal for mixed borders, beds, cutting gardens, containers and what are known as “cottage gardens,” a rustic style featuring a mixture of ornamental and edible plants.
While standard zinnias are susceptible to diseases such as powdery mildew, the marylandica types are highly resistant. Plan your garden with plenty of room for air flow around the plants. This will help prevent fungal leaf diseases. Another plus is the strong attraction butterflies and other pollinators have to zinnias.
The plants bloom best in at least a half day of full sun and thrive with moderate water and a well-drained site. Deadheading spent flowers will promote further blooming and maintain plant appearance all the way up to the first frost. Get started now. Plan for beautiful fall colored zinnias, add a hay bale and a scarecrow in October and you’ve just created a lot of fun!