What to Plant with Zinnias [Choosing The Best Companion Plant ]


This article would focus on what to plant with zinnias, the incredibly popular flowers available in different varieties and colors. So if you’ve been trying to figure how to optimize the value of your zinnias in terms of companion planting, you are in the right place. Sowing certain plants in pairs (or even multiple plants) has been scientifically proven to be beneficial to all the plants as they grow into matured plants. Essentially, apart from soil, sunlight, water, and, routine care, plants sometimes need the companionship of other plants to flourish.

The symbiotic relationship works best when opposites are paired. For instance, tall flowers can be paired with ground-dwelling veggies to provide shade. Gardeners also use some plants like zinnias to attract insects that would help companion plants as cauliflower grow better. Basically, before pairing plants, knowing how they can benefit each other is a good place to start.

What to Plant with Zinnias

Zinnias are hard-working plants that grow from seedlings to flowers incredibly fast. What makes them a favorite of many gardeners, apart from the beautiful blooms and amazing varieties, is that they are quite easy to grow and adaptable to various conditions.

Sometimes, the soil doesn’t need much prepping before planting them. But like most plants, they desire soil with good drainage.

There are several zinnia companion plants you can grow. Some of these companion plants are simply to enhance the beauty of a flower garden. In other cases, folks use zinnias to attract insects and pests away from their vegetable gardens. Various zinnia varieties are also famous for attracting pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds to gardens.

Generally, when choosing a zinnia variety for pairing, especially with veggies, keep in mind that taller or giant zinnia varieties are more attractive to bugs and butterflies. Also, these pollinators and bugs prefer single-flowered zinnias over double-flowered zinnias.

Let’s now look at some popular plants you can plant with zinnias and the attendant benefits.

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  1. Vegetable garden

One of the widest applications of zinnia companion planting can be found in vegetable gardens. Many compact, dwarf, and giant zinnia varieties can be repurposed as companion plants with selected veggies.

Vegetable crops like tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflowers, beans, etc, benefit greatly when planted with zinnias. For instance, the zinnias can prevent beetle pests and worms from attacking crops like tomatoes.

Many zinnias are known to attract predatory wasps that prey on tobacco and tomato worms. They are also famous for attracting ladybugs that help to control aphids and whiteflies in gardens.

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  1. Dahlias

Dahlias are perfect if you are thinking of what to plant with zinnias in containers. Several varieties of Dahlias do well in pots or containers. In combination with zinnias, you want a pot at least 12 inches deeps and 14 inches across. Though this may depend on the plant variety.

And talking about the Dahlia variant, you can’t go wrong with the David Howard Dahlia. The award-winning, orange-colored flowers are easy to grow and can comfortably cope with drooping during rainfall.

In gardens, the Dahlias’ vibrant hot tangerine blossoms bring a uniqueness that stands out when combined with Zinnia Profusion.

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  1. Sunflower, Grasses, and Zinnias

If you are looking for a spectacular and striking combination of flowers to plant with zinnias, the Mexican sunflowers and Feathertop Grass would give you that and more.

We recommend the Benary Giant zinnia variety for the best results. The tall vibrant blossoms of the zinnia would add an interesting perspective when planted along the garden border. All the flowers are tolerant to droughts, easy to care for, and would last throughout the growing season until frost.

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  1. Geranium

One well-kept secret of expert gardeners is that flowers are not always necessary when thinking of visually stunning plant combinations featuring annuals.

The orange-green foliage of the Occold Shield geranium with its double coral blooms makes a striking combination with Orange Profusion zinnias. Both plants have similar growing requirements and would thrive in sunny locations all through the summer.

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  1. Licorice

The vines of the Licorice plant offer an unusual combination when figuring out what to plant with zinnias in containers. Though licorice are actually perennials, they are treated as annuals in colder regions.

In combination with zinnias, the trailing silvery mass of foliage works best when planted along the edges of the container. This ensures that the foliage can cascade freely over the sides

The unique foliage of the Licorice makes it a versatile companion plant for any colorful zinnia. For instance, the silvery Licorice foliage encircling the fiery pink blooms of Profusion Cherry zinnia can only be described as beautiful.

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  1. Purple fountain grass

This ornamental grass beloved by many homeowners is easy to grow and care for. The crimson plumes arching towards one direction adds a vivid contrast when planted with zinnias.

It is a fast-growing plant that can reach a height of about 4 feet at maturity. And when it blooms, it produces dark red flower plumes nesting comfortably on the plant’s arching foliage.

Like zinnia, it is adaptable and grows well even on poor soil. The heat-tolerant plant is essentially a perennial but in colder zones, it is usually grown as an annual. 

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  1. China Aster

With their profuse blooms and brilliant colors, they are regarded as one of the most gorgeous and showy annual flowers in the world. They can be grown in garden beds or containers producing flowers in spring and fall only.

The flowers come in shades of purple, pink, red, blue, and white. The puffy blooms are about 3-5 inches wide with petals that are thin, pointed, and heavily clustered.

Though they can be grown in most soils, they prefer well-drained loamy soil, full sun or partial shade, and moderate watering. These growing conditions combined with the bold colors of the blooms make them a great option for gardeners looking for a companion for their zinnias.

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  1. Salvia

Also known as the ‘Sage’, it is hard to find a garden without at least a Salvia plant in them. Blooming from summer to autumn, these mainstays of the midsummer garden are usually planted in spring and are tolerant of heat and drought.

There are different varieties of the plant with most of them treated as annuals. They can be grown in containers making them a great pairing for dwarf zinnias. The heights vary according to the type of Salvia ranging from 18 inches to about 5 feet tall.

Salvias are a fine choice if you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden. And because they don’t thrive in cold weather, outdoor planting is best done after the threat of frost is over.

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  1. Cleome Spider flower

The older varieties of the spider flower are frequently used as background flowers for sun-loving short flowers in the garden. So if you are figuring what to plant to give your dwarf zinnias a bit more personality, the spider flower is a great choice.

Spider flowers are annuals and at maturity, can grow up to 4 feet tall. The flowers are bell-shaped featuring long seedpods whirling out from the plant. Because self-seeding is profuse, planting is done only once.

Their growing conditions include well-drained soil, little fertilization, full sun or partial shade, and will do well in any soil type. Established seedlings should be planted in spring when there is no danger of frost.

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  1. French marigold

With their bright orange, yellow, and red flowers, these garden staples of several decades would add an awesome contrast to any zinnia with differently colored flowers to the marigolds. They feature dark green elegant foliage that blooms all summer long.

Easy to grow in a garden bed from seed or as bedding plants, marigolds require full sun, well-drained soil, and also do well in pots or containers. Planting indoors is best done about 4 – 6 weeks before the last frost. Outdoors though, you’ll have to wait until there is zero threat of frost. The aromatic French marigolds grow to about 8 – 12 inches high.

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Wrapping up

When thinking about what to plant with zinnias, your creativity can make all the difference in coming up with amazing companions for the zinnias. It is mostly about choosing opposing plant qualities for effective pairing.

Apart from the visually stunning effects of contrasting colors and physical qualities, there are also other benefits when pairing zinnias with other plants. In vegetable gardens, for instance, the zinnias can help attract pollinators and repel harmful insects and pests.