Zinnias are vibrant flowers which will brighten your garden immensely. Zinnias are easy to grow, have a beautiful scent, and bloom quickly–even from seeds. In addition, zinnias are one of the longest blooming flowers.
In fact, since they are so hardy, they are a symbol of endurance–bringing beautiful color from early summer until a hard frost.
The zinnia was originally found in the southwestern region of the United States, Mexico, and Central America.
Today, they are also popular in Europe and other regions. When zinnias were first discovered in the Mexican wilderness in the early 1500s, they were judged dull and unappealing. In fact, the plant was first named “mal de tojos” or eyesore. Since then, the perception of zinnias has been transformed as there are now twenty varieties of gorgeous colors brightening gardens all over the world.
In fact, one popular variety is called “Cinderella,” in reference to the dramatic transformation of the zinnia’s image since the early 1500’s. Zinnias became more popular through the work of an 18th-century German botanist, Gottfried Zinn, who took an interest in the flower. He was intrigued by a forlorn zinnia he found in Mexico and brought it back with him to Europe for study. As Zinn experimented with the plant, he began to cross-breed the flowers with other types of zinnias. As a result, many breathtaking zinnia hybrids were created. There are now twenty striking varieties to choose from.
The zinnia has become a symbol of many types of endurance since it is a strong flower from its start to its maturity, continuing to bloom even in extreme summer heat, droughts, and among insects. Therefore, the zinnia symbolizes joyous endurance, endurance through trials and tribulations, spontaneous endurance, and endurance from youth to old age. Besides endurance, there are many other meanings for the zinnia including these Victorian meanings: thoughts of absent friends, lasting affection, daily remembrance, of the heart, and goodness.
Tribes in the Southwestern United States use zinnia flowers for ritual and medicinal purposes. The Navajo tribe considers the zinnia a “Sacred Life Medicine.” In some religions, white zinnias are also used commonly for weddings, baptisms, and other spiritual occasions as a sign of purity.
The name zinnia does not come from Latin. Appropriately, the plant was named in honor of botanist, Dr. Gottfried Zinn, who not only studied the flower but whose work led to its popularity throughout the world. As a result of Zinn’s work, the stunning flower continues to bloom in a vibrant array of shades from red, orange, apricot, yellow and lime green to white, magenta, lilac, blue, purple, and chartreuse. Each zinnia color also has its own symbolism.
- Yellow – daily remembrance; positive energy, joy, and optimism
- Pink – love, romance, affection
- White – pure, goodness, innocence, spirituality
- Orange – wisdom, positive energy
- Magenta – lasting affection
- Lilac/Purple – royalty, class, beauty
- Green – nature, health, youth, fertility, renewal, good luck
- Red – of the heart; steadfast; family ties; heart’s steady beat
- Mixed – thoughts of an absent friend
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Additional Interesting Facts About Zinnias:
- Zinnias may attract hummingbirds to your garden
- Planting bright-colored zinnias in your garden may attract butterflies
- Zinnias vary in size from one to seven inches across and grow from eight inches to four feet tall
- Various organizations throughout the world use the zinnia as a symbol for their organizations
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Zinnias are lovely at any time, but they are especially fitting for certain occasions or circumstances. For example, zinnias are appropriate when someone feels depressed or is facing a major problem. Bright-colored zinnias can help them feel strong and capable enough to overcome their obstacles. Sending zinnias to a distant friend or loved one whom you are missing can help you both feel connected.
White zinnias are a lovely decoration for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Furthermore, lively, colorful zinnias are very festive for celebrations and can boost someone’s mood on a rainy day.
The zinnia reminds us that setbacks in our lives can be overcome. They help us remember that the anguish of the moment will pass and that we can graciously handle obstacles to reach our goals. A cheerful, colorful garden filled with zinnias can go a long way to lift anyone’s spirits!