Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned gardener, some low-maintenance yet vibrant annual plants like Zinnias make for a perfect attraction. And some zinnia companion plants are a great way to enhance their yield and beauty.
Also, if you’ve recently noticed some powdery mildew buildup or sap-sucking aphids crawling on the zinnia stems, an appropriate selection of companion plants can be of great help.
Plants like marigolds, nasturtiums, and alyssum are great zinnia companion plants, whereas you should keep brassicas and nightshades away from them.
If you want to do complimentary gardening, you should know which plants will support or hinder the growth of zinnias, and today we will talk about it all.
So without skipping, keep on reading!
Why Do Zinnias Need Companion Plants?
Zinnias belong to the same family as daisies and sunflowers and are native to Mexico, which is why they thrive in bright and sunny weather. Even though zinnias are quite hardy (zone 3-10) and low maintenance, they often suffer from the attack of pests and insects.
Here are the top benefits they get from appropriate companion plants.
1. Free Pest Control
Zinnias are strong enough in most aspects; however, pests are one of the significant issues that can hinder their growth.
Some companion plants are known for repelling certain types of pets. Hence, planting plants that can eliminate zinnia enemies, like aphids and spider mites, will be free pest control.
2. Improve Soil Without Fertilizer
Some companion plants can even add essential nutrients to the soil, which can further benefit the growth of your zinnias. In contrast, the non-compatible ones can do the opposite and deprive your main plant of necessary growth nutrients.
3. Attract Friendly Crawlies
Not all insects and crawlers are harmful to your plant. Some can even protect your plant and save it from harmful pests. Ladybugs and lacewings can help control destructive pets and act as beneficial insects for zinnias.
4. Add A Layer Of Protection
Even though zinnia stems are pretty strong, making them perfect to put in a vase, they can be vulnerable while growing. Some companion plants can provide shade and wind protection and protect zinnia seedlings from getting burnt or damaged.
5. Level Up Garden Aesthetics
Apart from providing all the support and protection, companion plants are also great for adding versatility to your garden. Different foliage, texture, color, and height can improve your overall garden aesthetics.
Best Companion Plants For Zinnia
Here are some herbs and flowers that will support your zinnias the most.
Like zinnias, marigold is another low-maintenance and easy-to-grow annual plant. Also, their particular scent repels many common garden pests like aphids, whiteflies, and nematodes.
Planting marigolds next to your zinnias will ensure that your main crop is safe from the attack of those tiny monsters.
On the plus side, marigolds’ vibrant color attracts beneficial insects like bees and butterflies. They are great supporters of the act of pollination. Therefore, the overall pollination of your garden will also increase.
Another famous pest-repeller is nasturtiums. These annual plants have a very close blooming time to zinnias, and they thrive in bright and sunny areas. Their bold colors and edible leaves make them a gardener’s favorite.
Not only are they beneficial, but their appearance will give your yard a casual cottage-garden vibe. Their hues are very close to the zinnia’s; therefore, they will make the perfect pair if you want a monochromatic and harmonious look for your garden.
Just like zinnias, Nasturtiums also grow better in slightly acidic and well-drained soil. They also attract beneficial insects like predatory wasps and hoverflies, which can control harmful garden pests.
A garden full of cosmos is simply a sight for sore eyes. These daisy-like flowers not only give your garden a romantic fairytale-ish look but also act as a great companion plant.
The bright and spread petals of the cosmos make them the perfect landing pad for many beneficial insects. Ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies are some of the common insects that are powerfully attracted by the cosmos and are helpful for zinnias.
If you are struggling with the yield of your zinnias, try planting some pollination-promoting flowers like the cosmos.
They come in various colors, so you can easily pick matching or contrasting combinations based on your garden theme.
If you want your zinnias to be the center of attraction, then planting some alyssums around it can look very chic.
These low-growing plants are often used as edging plants, but not many are aware of their beneficial side. From deterring weeds to luring aphids towards themselves, alyssums make for great companion plants.
They grow in the same soil and climate conditions as zinnias, so you don’t have to put in the extra effort. They are a cool-season plant, so you can plant them in early spring and see them grow throughout the first frost of winter.
Plus, they not only look good but can be fragrant if you choose a suitable variety.
Even though zinnias love to bask in the sun for at least six to eight hours a day if the heat is too strong, they can also get damaged. Therefore, to save them from getting burnt, companion plants like sunflowers can be helpful.
Sunflower plants are taller, and the flowers are much bigger than the zinnias. This is why they make the perfect shade providers during the hottest parts of the day.
Besides, they also attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and parasitic wasps, which are great for controlling garden pests. Their large and bright flowers are known for attracting native pollinators like bees and butterflies, resulting in an increased yield of your zinnias.
Cilantro is a herb that we often use in cooking because of its outstanding fragrance. However, did you know that they are a great companion plant for zinnias?
They attract insects that prey on harmful pests and, at the same time, repel the ones that can be dangerous for zinnia (like potato beetles).
The Cilantro herb is a cool-season plant and grows fast. Plus, the bright and lush green cilantro leaves will add an extra layer of foliage that will make your zinnias stand out even more.
Dill is another low-maintenance herb that can be a great companion plant. It is also very fragrant, like cilantro, which suits various culinary uses.
It is an amazing herb that tastes great, smells great, attracts beneficial insects (mantises, parasitic wasps, lacewings, hoverflies, etc.), and at the same time repels harmful pests (such as aphids, spider mites, etc.).
Their light and feathery textured foliage greatly complements the long-stemmed zinnias. Plant them in the sparse spots, and they will elevate the overall look of your garden.
Chamomile is a well-known medicinal plant from the same family as Zinnias. Nowadays, it is even more hyped due to its sleep-promoting and stress-relieving properties.
That is its benefit for you. What about the zinnias? Well, as much as you enjoy the smell of it, harmful pests like cabbage moths and whiteflies hate it. So they act as great pest repellers.
It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can prevent it and the surrounding plants from fungal infections.
The small daisy-like flowers nicely blend in with the zinnias, giving it an overall harmonious look.
9. Sweet Peas
Like any other member of the pea family, sweet peas are experts at fixing the soil’s nitrogen levels. They also attract bees and butterflies that promote the pollination process.
They are climbing plants, so you can put a fence around the zinnias and see the beautiful vines that grow on them. It will give your yard the perfect country-cottage vibe.
10. Purple Fountain Grass
Native to Africa and Asia, the purple fountain grass is a superb tropical ornamental grass. Since zinnias are not very tall, adding them to the backdrop can elevate your garden.
This clump-forming fluffy grass displays a reddish burgundy color. They grow mainly during the summers and are both deer- and drought-resistant.
Purple fountain grass can grow as much as 5 feet tall, so you can trim them based on how much elevation you want to add to your garden.
Worst Zinnia Companion Plants
Now that you know what plants can benefit and complement your chirpy zinnias, you should also know which ones can be harmful. There are a few crop plants that seasoned gardeners avoid planting near zinnias due to multiple reasons.
Below are some such plants that you should avoid placing near zinnias.
Brassica members include cabbage-like vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, and turnips. Zinnia and brassicas have similar pest threats (like cabbage worms and flea beetles), so placing them next to each other can often attract more pests.
Swallowtail butterflies love fennel, which is a beneficial insect for your garden. But what’s harmful is the swallowtail caterpillars. While the butterflies are great, the caterpillars will feast on your zinnia leaves. So it is better not to plant fennel near them.
Nightshades like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are even more vulnerable to common garden pests than zinnias. Thus, it is not a good idea to place them together. Rather, pair them with plants that can repel the pests.
If you’ve ever owned a strawberry plant, you would know how easily they attract slugs and snails. So placing your zinnias next to strawberries will only add variety to the plate of those invertebrates.
Besides, strawberries and zinnias have similar nutritional needs, so they might compete with each other. This will lead both to be malnourished.
Mint plants can often be very invasive. They overgrow and take up as much space as they can. This can lead to a lack of room for the zinnias and deprive them of water, sunlight, and essential soil nutrients.
Ans. Zinnia seeds come from dried zinnia flowers. Simply take one, flail the seed head, and gently hit it to release the seeds. You can also rub them between your fingers to free them from the base of the petals.
Ans. The best place to plant zinnias is where the sun shines to the maximum. So place them in no or partly-shaded (during warm seasons) areas where they can get at least six to eight hours of sun. For the soil, ensure it is well drained and high in organic matter.
Ans. Zinnias can do well both in pots and land. However, in the case of using pots, ensure that the soil composition is suitable.
Ans. Cut deeply on the zinnias for more blooms. Cutting off the side shoots on the main stem can also induce the plant to grow long and strong throughout the season.
Ans. If you are overwatering your zinnias, you will find them drooping or turning yellow. If this happens, check if the soil is very soggy. If yes, then water it only after it dries down to normal.
So What Are You Planting Next To Your Zinnias?
Zinnias can do very well by themselves and don’t require much care and attention. However, if you notice decreased yield in flowers, you may want to plant companion plants that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
On the flip side, if you notice some powdery mildew or aphids feasting on the zinnia stems, plant some pest-repelling or healthy insect-attracting plants next to them.
Overall, you need to ensure you are placing plants with different weaknesses or enemies than zinnia, as otherwise, it will only increase the chances of infection.