zinnias

Most plants in the world depend on pollination in order to produce their flowers and fruits.

Insects and bird are pollination agents. Bees play a big part in cross-pollination.

Whoever said that bees are responsible for every three bites of food we take might just be right.

So, do Zinnias attract bees? The answer is Yes. Zinnias produces colorful flowers and sweet nectar that attract bees. This can result in pollination, and increase the yield of Zinnias.

Have you ever wondered why bees are such excellent pollinators?

It’s because their whole lives are literally dependent on the pollen and nectar derived from flowers.

But why is it that the first reaction most people usually have when they see a bee is to reach out for that old newspaper or magazine to kill the poor creature?

I’d like next time you see a bee, before you grab that booklet to kill it, to remember how important they are to the ecosystem.

Why Zinnias attract bees (if they do)

I will tell you whether or not Zinnias really attract bees, but first, what are they?

Zinnias are flowers from the sunflower family that bloom all around the world, they are attractive and known to be one of the easiest flower to grow.

They require only a short time to mature about 60-70 days (depending on the area’s conditions).

Their beauty is shown in an array of multi-colors and hues. They come in white, yellow, orange, lilac, purple, red and multi colored blooms.

There are about 20 species of Zinnias that come in either single or double blossomed petals.

The beauty of Zinnias

Zinnias are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes.

Due to their bright and glowing colors, they appear attractive and adorable cut flowers which look great when in a bouquet.

Zinnias are one of those plants that cannot afford to miss a space in your garden. It is no wonder bees cannot get enough of them.

Zinnias are the only natural flowers that attract a wide variety of insect among them bees and butterflies.

Butterflies are more suited for Zinnias than bees.

Nonetheless, the bees do pollinate these flowers just the same.

Zinnias are usually wide at the center thus butterflies are able to perch at the flower petals while sucking their nectar.

The double-petaled and the dwarf species of Zinnias however, make it difficult for insects to access their nectar thus they are less popular to the insects.

Distribution of Zinnias

Zinnias can grow anywhere as long as there is well drained fertile soil. They also require areas that have ample sunlight.

They are dominant in Southwest United States and South America where there are lots of scrubs and dry grasslands. Zinnias are a native of Mexico.

They have been spread through Europe and Asia as well.

There are more than twenty species of Zinnia currently. Only three species are grown for commercial purposes: Zinnia elegans, haageana and augusifolia.

The plant can also be found in the homes of many garden lovers because they are easy to maintain and are aesthetically pleasing. Zinnias can be propagated by either seed or multiplied through cuttings.

Challenges of growing Zinnias

They are easy to maintain because they do not require much attention as they are resistant to most pests and diseases.

They can grow anywhere as long as there is ample sunlight and water.

They happen to be susceptible to powdery mildew (where a white powdery substance appears on the leaves and stems) — thus be sure to give these beauties ample spacing when planting them to avoid these situations.

All you are required to do is to simply weed them and pinch old blossoms to give way for new ones in order to achieve that presentable garden.

Bees and Zinnias

Bee in Zinnia

Back to the relationship between Zinnias and bees, zinnias depend on cross pollination in order to continue to produce flowers.

Their main agent of pollination is insects such as the bees. The relationship between bees and zinnias is mutual because both parties benefit.

Bees are primary attracted to flowers that are blue, white or red in color.

Among the flowers bees are attracted to are:

  • Dandelion
  • Lemon balm
  • Butterfly weed
  • Snapdragon
  • Cone flower
  • Bee balm
  • Sunflower
  • Aster
  • Black-eyed Susan, and many others

So Zinnias are not one of the flowers that really attract bees, but they are typically pollinated by bees and butterflies.

Bumble bees are more attracted to Zinnias than other species of bees.

Zinnias are useful to bees as they stay in bloom over a long period thus provide nectar for bees when other flowers are not available.

Types of Zinnias

Zinnias are unique and ideal for indoors decorations. They can be classified into various types on the basis of their flower forms and height.

Below are the types of zinnias commonly grown around the world:

1. Dwarf zinnias

They include dream land mix, starbright zinnia, and Magellan mix. They are commonly planted in flower boarders.

They may grow fifteen to twenty five inches (which happens to be smaller than most zinnias) tall and bloom prolifically.

They need a lot of sunlight, are diseases and pest tolerant. This variety is brushy and more compact in form.

Their small flowers make them suitable for pollination by bees although their dwarf nature makes them quite inaccessible. Pollinators usually like tall varieties of flowers.

2. Tall, cut flower

They are attractive to insects which depend on them for pollination. They are planted like the other zinnias.

Some do well when cut from garden. They usually grow to around five feet tall when mature.

They appear great in flower bouquets, examples of these types of zinnias include: giant cactus, uproar rose, state fair mix zinnias and queen red lime.

3. Landscape Zinnias

These are almost like dwarf zinnias but are planted in landscape and in flower boarders.

They grow a little taller than the dwarf species — up to 25 – 50 inches in size.

When mature, they produce flowers continuously. Examples of these types of zinnias are; zinnias profusion series, zahara series and Mexican zinnia.

4. Narrow-leaf zinnias

They are also known as creeping zinnias. They come in several colors which appear attractive to insects.

They bloom in colors of yellow, white, pink and orange. They are cheap to maintain and attract mostly butterflies.

Narrow zinnias should be grown in warm areas because they are likely to do better than when grown in cold weather conditions.

When planning to grow these types of zinnias, one should be aware of spacing them about seven to nine inches apart and ensure to plant them where there is direct natural sunlight.

Great care must be exercised by regular pruning to encourage regeneration of new blossoms.

One may also be required to use fertilizers which contain high phosphorus regularly to maintain freshness of leaves.

5. Zinnias flower

Zinnias flower are well known for their lavish and beautiful scents even though they vary in type in terms of petal rows and size.

Below are different types of zinnias flower:

6. Cactus flowered

This type of zinnias flower is long and its petals bend downwards forming an attractive and a stylish flower.

7. Single flowered

This type of a zinnia’s flower has one row of petals; its flower is also attractive in the eyes due to its direct exposure.

8. Semi-double flowered

The zinnias have several rows of petals compared to the other types of flowers, and the flower of this type of zinnias is more visible because it is over exposed.

9. Full-double flowered

The zinnias flower buds are double with several rows of petals and they are not visible due to their petals.

Why plant Zinnias?

Zinnias are well known for their beautiful variety of flowers that they produce in large quantities.

The cheery colors of their petals are enough to lighten your mood too.

They do well in a well drained and fertile. The seeds of zinnias are sown fairly deep; about a quarter foot.

It is beneficial to grow zinnias especially because are annual plants and require minimal supervision.

Zinnias can produce large lavish flowers for both commercial and subsistence purposes. Commercially, they can be exported which in turn earns the country extra income.

They can be used as cut flowers to improve home aesthetics. When stored in a vase, their vase life is longer than that of most flowers.

They have colorful petals which are edible and also used to add color and flavors to salads.

Zinnias can be intercropped with other vegetable crops. These flowers offer numerous benefits to such crops among them deterring of pests that attack vegetables like cucumbers.

They can also be used indirectly as biocontrol agents by attracting predatory wasps and Hoover birds that feed on insects that would feed on other vegetable crops.

Summary

Inter-cropping zinnias with your vegetables is beneficial in attracting more pollinator to your crop thus ensuring bountiful harvest.

They can be grown in between rows of vegetables or as border crops.

Zinnias are definitely a favorite to human beings, butterflies and certainly bees, as much as bees do not consider these flowers as their top selection as far as flowers are concerned.

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