Amazing annuals: Sanvitalia

Commonly known as creeping zinnia, this little gem is good in its own right

Sanvitalia is a small genus of eight or so species, mostly from Mexico. They are low, spreading plants with roughly hairy, opposite leaves and solitary, terminal flowers that look rather like tiny sunflowers or rudbeckias. The most common is S. procumbens with golden yellow flowers with dark brown disc florets. Plants grow to about 25cm high and spread slightly more. They are ideal for edging borders and for large containers and even hanging baskets.

They are easily raised from seed and flower early, continuing to bloom throughout summer as the plants swell into dense mounds. They prefer a bright spot and a light soil and they do well in slightly droughty soils. In recent years young-plant breeders have produced vegetatively propagated cultivars that have larger, more double flowers on compact plants (below), sold as young plants in spring, but I think they lack some of the informal charm of the seed-raised kinds (above). Among the seeds you can sow are yellow ‘Aztec Gold’ and the contrasting ‘Orange Sprite’. As might be expected, bees and butterflies like this plant and it has a simple charm that is easy to use in any garden.

 

3 Comments on “Amazing annuals: Sanvitalia”

  1. tonytomeo
    January 22, 2021 at 7:25 am #

    Oh my, another new one for me. I should get to nurseries more often (after this current ‘situation’).

  2. summercloud
    January 23, 2021 at 12:11 am #

    Reading this series today made me so happy! I haven’t done that many annuals so I thought it’d be fun to see if I could buy one of everything on your list from a great seed company here in the US (Eden Brothers). Some of these they don’t carry and a couple I rejected but so far I’m up to 13 seed packets!

    I feel like I should wait for the end of the series before clicking “buy” so I don’t miss something else great…

    • thebikinggardener
      January 23, 2021 at 9:11 am #

      thank you for your comment and I am glad that I have inspired you to try some more annuals. There are others that I have not mentioned and I might have to do a last post to mop up some I have missed. The great thing is that they are so varied and there is always a chance that they will self seed. And, of course, most are great for pollinators.

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