Today I am writing about a glorious Zinnia–‘Zowie! Yellow Flame’, to whom I was introduced via Rose at Prairie Rose’s Garden. I grew this annual flower in the middle of my vegetable garden last summer, but regrettably neglected to order more seeds for it this year. I miss this birthday party of a flower, featuring vibrant rings of magenta, orange-red, and yellow:‘Zowie!’ bears semi-double flowers, averaging three inches in diameter in my garden. It is a profuse bloomer with a good branching habit, and grows to about thirty inches in height. In the crowded conditions of my vegetable garden last year, this plant had about an eighteen inch spread.
I sowed twelve ‘Zowie’ seeds directly into the garden in very late June, when the soil and the weather were reliably warm. Seven days later, I had 100% germination. The first flower bloomed about eight weeks later, in mid-to-late August. If I had sown them indoors in late March, I’m sure I would have seen blooms three to four weeks earlier. The blooms are long-lasting, both on the plant and as cut flowers in a vase. Cutting them and dead-heading the spent blooms encourages scads of new flowers.
As the flowers mature, the petals become suffused with the orange-red color of the center ring, and the seed cone grows taller. Unlike the Cosmos and Cleome, Zinnia seeds left over the winter here in my Zone 5b garden do not come up the next summer. Since ‘Zowie’ is a hybrid, it is unlikely that they would bloom the same in successive years anyway.
I had no trouble with mildew or insects. Zinnias show up on lists of deer resistant plants. However, I have had problems with woodchucks nibbling on zinnias in past years, so now grow them within the confines of the vegetable garden fence. Bees and butterflies love them!
Our first frost came in late October last fall, and ‘Zowie!” vigorously pumped out the blooms until then. The night of that first freeze found me wandering about the gardens,with a flashlight in the cold darkness, cutting every flower that still looked nice, for one mammoth bouquet! The ‘Zowie!’ Zinnias lasted the longest, over two weeks in the vase!I heartily recommend this outstanding flower. I most certainly will bring it back to my own garden next year!
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