Taking a look at the Zinnia trial happening at RHS Wisley
As part of my recent visit to RHS Wisley, I made a point of visiting the Plant Trial Beds. These are where the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) plants are trialled and awarded the highest horticultural accolade. This year I was pleased to see the Zinnia and Echinacea trials in full bloom.
The Zinnia trial was planted this year, which makes sense when you consider that they are annual plants in the UK so they can’t run longer trials, and there are 100 varieties on trial. I’ve grown them a few time over the years. I try to find varieties that have bright, clear colours that age well. A lot of the plants on show had a muddy colouring and tend to have unsightly flower heads as they age. If you’re quick to dead-head that won’t be too much of an issue.
If you want to find out more about the current plant trials happening at Wisley then follow this link to the PDF.
Zinnia ‘Red Spider’
This one had really strongly coloured petals. It’s not the blowsiest of the varieties on offer but I thought the intense blooms were very special. The older flowers still looked good on the plant and it was nice and tall.
Zinnia ‘Zinderella Peach’
All the plants in the Zinderella breeding program were very strong contenders for my favourites. This burnt-orange flower was such an unusual colour I had to have it. The older blooms have a yellower tinge but they complement the fresh flowers well.
Envy was a variety known to me before seeing it at the trial beds. The clear, bright white flowers are large and impressive.
Zinnia Benary’s Giant White
Another white variety is Benary’s Giant White, which has larger blooms than Envy, that has a creamy tinge when they age which is really pleasing on the eye.
If I had to choose from the 100 varieties on offer then this group of 4 plants would be top of the list. These can all be grown from seed so you might get some variation. The seed strains for some of the mixed varieties on trial contained good coloured forms but I struggled to enjoy the colour mixings all mixed together. I prefer just one type at a time.
Chiltern Seeds – Chiltern Seed list 25 varieties including all 4 on this page
Plant World Seeds – A local seed producer here in Devon lists 3 varieties.
Higgledy Garden – 3 varieties from a South West seed company