Zinnia is a genus of 20 species of annual and perennial plants in the Asteraceae family. This is a plant of scrub and dry grassland found in an area stretching from the
American Southwest to South America, but primarily Mexico. The most familiar species from this genus is Zinnia elegans. It was originally found in Mexico and is considered a hot climate plant.
The leaves of Zinnia plants are usually stalkless, with shapes ranging from linear to oval. They are pale to mid-green in color. The flowers can have different appearances, from a single row of petals, to a dome shape. They can be white, yellow, orange, red, purple, lilac, and chartreuse.
These are popular garden flowers, usually planted as seeds. They prefer a fertile, humus-rich, and well-drained soil bed, in an area with full sun. They will reseed themselves each year. Zinnias seem to be favored by butterflies, and many gardeners plant zinnias to attract them.
The name of the genus derives from the German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759).