Aug 132008
Zinnias: A Great Way to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Even though Zinnias begin with the letter “Z” they shouldn’t be your last thought for your garden. I’ve found that zinnias rival any other flower for attractive hummingbirds and butterflies. Hummingbirds love them, so much so that feeders are unnecessary. They are easy to grow, just sprinkle some seed where you want them and keep them watered to make them happy.

Zinnias come in all kinds of colors.

Here’s a nice red zinnia, a butterfly favorite as you can tell from the photo.

This red zinnia has faint tinges of orange on its petals. Strangely there are no orange zinnias in our gardens. I suspect that it is because these zinnias were raised from open pollinated seeds from last years crop. When you have a plants that are open pollinated you have very little control over what you get. That’s a fun part of gardening, the unexpected!

Purple Zinnia

Here’s a yellow zinnia. You can see the wilting of the zinnia foliage in the background. We just haven’t had enough rain to satisfy them. Hopefully we’ll get some soon but all I need to do is water them a little and they’ll pop right back. Zinnias are very forgiving!

Yellow Zinnia

They even come in brown! I like to let the zinnias go to seed. When they look like this just clip the head off and let it dry for a day or two longer to ensure that it is completely dried out. Then save it for next year, or plant them in the ground for some late fall color. They will get hammered by any frosts that may come so it is best to get any seed started quickly.

Zinnia flower at seed stage


Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

Reader Comments

  1. I’ve been slowly warming to zinnias and your post here has pushed me over the top. Attracting butterflies and hummingbirds sounds lovely and the zinnias would be a good addition to the bird and butterfly attracting plants I already have. If they reseed, that’s even better! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great looking zinnias Dave. I've thought about planting some but seeing yours I will plant next yr. some may fit in my front garden that I'm working on now. I think a couple in there in back will look nice & add color.

  3. I love these guys. Some of mine are doing so well, still others are brown and dried up. Sigh. No matter, they are must grow for any garden. Bet your oldest loves them!

  4. I once saw a new house in full sun that had little landscaping where they filled a rather large area between the house and the driveway with zinnias. It was magnificent.

  5. My two grandmothers always had the most beautiful Zinnias in their gardens. I have not had any luck with them but the 3-year drought may be the problem. I did not plant any this year. But next year I am planning a seed garden so maybe they will pop up for me if we have a wetter year…

    How is your daughters garden doing?

  6. I have warmed up to Zinnias since blogging! I don’t know how I have been without them! This humble flower is as you say, forgiving and easy! I was a perennial plant snob! Not anymore! Beautiful photo of the zinnia in her closeup! All girly girl dark pink with her tiara of gold!


  7. Zinnias remind me of my Dad’s beautiful gardens. I love them for their bright color, sturdy stems, and the look as beautiful in a vase as in the garden. 🙂

  8. So glad you did a whole post on Zinnias..I just love them. I have had people mention mildew problems, but I’ve never experienced this problem. You got some great photos of them too.

  9. I was going to make a post on these beautiful flowers but then I saw everyone else had posted their wonderful pics nd I chickened out. Mine are okay but nothing to write about. They are a lttle brown around the edges here and there and that is my fault. I ignored them too much. I took them for granted.

  10. I'm declaring this the year of the Zinnia! All these posts about Zinnias have convinced me that I absolutely have to have them next year. A direct sow annual that attracts butterflies & hummers & comes in colors I like – I'm there!

  11. Don,

    That is a good tip. Last year though the rains barely let the plants dry out before they got wet again, a tough year for powdery mildew!

  12. hi…..i have huge beds of zinnias and i can't seem to stop planting them…they are the perfect flower in my humble opinion…perfect for cutting and perfect in their variety of colors…i read somewhere that zinnias like to be water near their roots, not sprayed…this can create mildew and i know we all hate mildew!!!!!…what i love most about them is that they flower from june to late october…again the perfect flower..i'm partial to the california giants….enjoy

  13. Love, love, love zinnias! Today I even saw a hummingbird (love them too) in my zinnias. Zinnias are bright, colorful and cheerful. Anybody know of a good source for seeds other than the usual?

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