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.