How to Grow Creeping Zinnia–Sanvitalia

Creeping zinnia
Creeping zinnia, Sanvitalia procumbens

Creeping zinnia is grown as half-hardy annuals for its colorful flowers that resemble miniature black-eyed Susans. Creeping zinnia both mounds and trails. Mounds are covered with ¾ inch (18mm) wide flowers. Raised purple-brown centers are surrounded by a ring of golden yellow petals.

Plant creeping zinnias where it can trail over walls or cascade from hanging baskets or containers. Plants flower from midsummer until frost.

Creeping zinnia, Sanvitalia procumbens
Creeping zinnia, Sanvitalia procumbens

Get to Know Creeping Zinnia

  • Plant type: Half-hardy annual
  • Growing zones and range: All zones
  • Hardiness: Tender; thrives in heats; plants will be killed by frost
  • Height and width: 6 inches (15cm) tall; 18 inches (45cm) wide
  • Flowers: Small flowers ¾ inch wide resemble black-eyed Susans with purple-brown centers surrounded by a ring of golden yellow petals.
  • Uses: Use as edging or filler in beds and borders; plant in hanging baskets and containers.
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Botanical name: Sanvitalia procumbens
  • Common name: Creeping zinnia
Creeping zinnia in a hanging basket
Creeping zinnia in a hanging basket

Where to Plant Creeping Zinnia

  • Grow creeping zinnia in full sun.
  • Plant creeping zinnia in average, well-drained garden soil.

When to Plant Creeping Zinnia

  • Sow seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost.
  • Sow seed outdoors where they will grow 1 to 2 weeks before the last expected frost.
  • Sow outdoors in winter in Zones 10-11.
  • Set transplants outdoors after all danger of frost has passed after hardening off seedlings for a few days.

Planting and Spacing Creeping Zinnia

  • Sow seed in individual pots so as not to disturb the roots at transplanting time
  • Press the seed into the soil; do not cover it with soil. Keep seeds at 75° to 80°F (24°-26.7°C) until seeds germinate; afterwards reduce the temperature to 70°F (21°C).
  • Grow from seed indoors in a bright window or under fluorescent light.
  • Thin seedlings when they have 4 to 6 leaves.
  • Set young plants in the garden after the last frost in spring.
  • Sow seed directly in the garden after the last frost.
  • Space plants or thin them to stand 8 to 12 inches (20-30cm) apart.
Creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens) and edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus) in the pot
Creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens) and edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus) in the pot

How to Water and Feed Creeping Zinnia

  • Keep the soil evenly moist until established; mature plants can withstand slight drying between waterings.
  • Fertilize creeping zinnia at planting time with an all-purpose fertilizer.
  • Boost blossoms by applying a low-nitrogen, high phosphorus, and potassium fertilizer when plants are 4 inches (10cm) tall or taller.

Creeping Zinnia Care

  • Mulch around plants in dry summer regions; mulch with aged compost.
  • Pinch back growth tips for bushiness.
  • Deadhead plants to encourage more blooms.

Creeping Zinnia Varieties to Grow

  • ‘Mandarin Orange’ has orange flowers and grows to about 6 inches (15cm) tall.
  • ‘Gold Braid’ has double flowers and grow to 6 inches (15cm) tall and 12 inches (30cm) wide.

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