Benary Giant zinnias

The sturdy stems of these Benary Giant zinnias support dozens of blooms in a stunning mixture of colors.

Zinnias are annual flowers that perform extremely well in our hot and humid Mississippi gardens and landscapes. In fact, home gardeners can have these beautiful flowers blooming from May all the way to frost in fall.

One group of zinnias that I can’t get enough of is the Zinnia elegans. These zinnias are the long-stemmed kind that are perfect for the cutting garden.

Two selections that are garden must-haves are the Benary Giant and Magellan series. These classic garden zinnias both feature gorgeous colors and large, pompom flower heads.

Benary Giant zinnia is for the gardener who wants long-lasting cut flowers all summer long. As these plants are up to 30 inches tall, they are perfect for displaying the pretty flowers. The double flowers are huge and routinely 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

The tall stems are sturdy enough to support the abundant yield of beautiful flowers. These gorgeous flowers come in a stunning mixture of pink, salmon rose, golden yellow, coral, golden orange, dark red, white and dark lavender, or as single colors.

Magellan zinnias are shorter and stockier than the Benary’s Giant zinnia and have a mature height of about 18 inches. The flowers resemble large pompoms and are about the size of a baseball.

The flower stalks being short and sturdy allows them to carry the enormous flowers without the need for additional support. Magellan zinnias are available in single and mixed colors. I like mass planting the mixtures, as they look like a colorful carnival in the landscape.

Benary Giants and Magellan zinnias tolerate the high temperatures and humidity of our Mississippi summers. Maybe their best characteristic of all is their lower vulnerability to powdery mildew, which can be a humid weather perennial problem with other Zinnia elegans.

Both Magellan and Benary Giants benefit from deadheading the fading flowers. This isn’t a problem because I’m sure you, like me, will be cutting blooms for vases in the house, and the flowers will never get to that point of looking tired and fading in the garden.

Always cut using a really sharp pair of scissors or clippers. Cut blooms early in the morning, and select flowers that are not quite fully open. The flowers will continue to open after they are placed in the vase. These zinnia selections have great vase life and can still look good after seven days.

All Zinnia elegans actually require very little maintenance during the season. Their only real demands are for consistent fertilization and moisture to maintain the production of gorgeous flowers all season.

Zinnias are easy to grow from seed. I like the idea of succession planting. I plan to sow seed every three weeks in different parts of the garden and landscape to keep Magellan and Benary Giants looking good all season long.

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