|Positive ||htop ||On Jul 30, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I have not grown this plant, but have observed it in its natural habitat. The white flowered bush zinnia is also known as desert zinnia, spinyleaf zinnia, dwarf zinnia, wild zinnia and white zinnia. It is an evergreen subshrub or shrub and is a deer resistant, perennial native plant which inhabits the southwestern USA (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and northern Mexico). In Texas, it can be found in the Trans-Pecos, Southwest Rio Grand Plains and into the Valley regions. Soil pH should be acidic with a pH above 6.8.
It grows 10 to 12 inches tall and to 2 feet in diameter which makes it a great groundcover. Requiring minimum care, the desert zinnia is useful in harsh arid environments. It is very drought tolerant and will survive with no supplemental water, but will look a bit ragged and has fewer blooms. It will need a little water to grow to its optimum beauty and produce blooms prolifically. An occasional watering with a hose will suffice if it hasn't rained in a while. Soils must be well-drained soils.
It has slender woolly stems and needle-like, 1/2" long, narrow, stiff, grayish-green leaves that have sharp tips. It blooms heavily in March through April and sporadically into the fall. The 1.0 to 1.5 inches in diameter, papery bloom is off white (can be a very pale yellow), has 4 to 6 white, petal-like rays and a yellow disk flowers.
It needs cut back to the ground every other year to avoid a straggly look. It is a perfect plant for rock gardens, xeriscapes and wildscapes. Remember not to overwater it. Seeds should be sown in the fall.
Sidenote: The Spanish zinnias first to Europe. Being small species were small, the Spanish considered them to be ugly and called them “mal de ojos,” loosely translated to mean “bad eye” or "bad on the eye". In 1613, they were cultivated in Austria. A medical professional, Johann Gottfried Zinnthat, gave the flower its name. He was a professor at Gottingen University and wrote a book about the flora of the area as well as a book on the anatomy of the eye that was so accurate it is still valid today. Zinn died in 1759; but, he lives on each time the words "zinnia" and "Zinn’s Zonuleis" (a description of part of the eye) are used.