Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: White Flowered Bush Zinnia, Spiny Leaf Zinnia, Dwarf Zinnia
Zinnia acerosa

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Zinnia (ZIN-ya) (Info)
Species: acerosa (ay-ser-OH-suh) (Info)

Synonym:Zinnia pumila
Synonym:Diplothrix acerosa

One vendor has this plant for sale.

22 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By htop
Thumbnail #1 of Zinnia acerosa by htop


1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

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 "Zinns Zonuleis" (a description of part of the eye) are used.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
San Antonio, Texas

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