Are Candy Mix Zinnia seeds hybrid?

Heber Springs, AR

I am growing Candy Mix Zinnias for the first time. They are beautiful, and butterflies love them. I would like to collect seeds from them, but do not know if they will come back true. Any help you could give would be much appreciated.

Thumbnail by ARdotty
Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Usually, "mix" means "a mix of colors". Like, the vendor had a field of red, and another field of yellow, and a third field of pink. He made packets with some of each kind of (pure) seed. But probably not only that, in this case.

With that kind of "mix", when they cross-polinate, some colors will blur but others may stay clean. Like I had mongrel F2-F3 Petunias come out as a few clean white, several fairly clean blue-purple, and then a blurry range of pale through bright pink, purple and lavender (a red-white-blue schmear).

Then I guessed that "Candy" might be the name of a whole series of commercial hybrids.


DG Plant Files points to "Harris Seeds" as the vendor, and here is their blurb below.

Zinnia Candy Mix F1

SKU: 20946-10-02

This unusual zinnia mixture was our bonus seed offering last year and met with positive feedback! Candy Mix zinnia features a number of scabious, 2-2 1/2" flowers in a wide range of colors including bright orange and bright pink.

The "F1" means that they definitely came from a cross between two things. If those things were signifigantly different, you should expect more then the colors to come out mixed in your "F2" genration.

However, so what? Unless you are re-selling the seed, or trading it to someone and want to claim "purity" and "predictability" as "exactly like candy Mix SKU 20946-10-02".

They will certainly grow up as colorful zinnias. Maybe not as big blooms or as "scabious". Sometimes, fewer flowers per plant. Maybe the colors will be more pastel, or a continuos range rather than some clean orange and some hot pink.

You might like yours better! But when you offer to trade them, stress "collected FROM Candy Mix" or say explicitly "F2 cross". Then people will know they are getting something interesting, rather than predictable. I like to say "random mongrels from my garden".

Over in the Hybridizers Forum, Zen_Man has that as a major hobby: crossing Zinnias to see what he can create. He gets ALL shapes, and one psychedelic Wowie came out looking like an explosion in a paint factory!

In my limited experience, the "unusual" traits like "giant", or "double blooms" or maybe "scabious" are the quickest to be lost in an F2 cross between very random parents.

But you are re-crossing something that might have had closely-related parents ... in that case, maybe many traits will come true, or express themseleves in similar but slightly varying ways.

The only downside to growing F2 crosses that I can think of is this: you are quite likely to get some plants that are somewhat different, and that you might really like and be proud of. BUT their F3 offspring won't come very true, either!

If you really, really like them, you would have to save cuttings through the winter.


Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Hi Dotty & Corey,

I know this is an old thread, but I just happened on it. Corey, I think Harris Seeds is mistaken in listing Candy Mix as an F1 hybrid. Other seed companies, such as Parks, don't list it as a hybrid. I think the cost of the seeds, on a cents-per-seed basis, would be considerably higher if Candy Mix were an F1 hybrid.

I have grown Candy Mix and saved seeds from them. A lot of the Candy Mix seeds do not even "come true" right out of the commercial seed packet. The Parks picture shows a single specimen, with other singles out-of-focus in the background.

The scabious flower form of Candy Mix and other Scabiosa Flowered zinnia strains is not very stable. I enjoy crossing scabious flowered zinnias with other zinnia strains, and I get some interesting results that way. I also get a lot of off-type single zinnias that I don't like, so I just pull those out or, if they are too close to a nearby good zinnia, I just use hand pruners to snip the culled zinnias off at ground level, so that I can remove them. That way the roots of the "good" zinnias aren't disturbed. By saving seeds from your best Candy Mix zinnias, you can probably improve on the commercial strain.

The zinnias in the picture came from a hybrid involving Candy Mix and a larger zinnia. The advantage of crossing zinnias like Candy Mix with giant flowered zinnias is that you can get larger versions of the scabious flower form that you can't get in a commercial seed packet.

Incidentally, Dotty, the Candy Mix zinnia in your picture looks like a good one. I hope you will grow Candy Mix again this year. I plan to grow more of them, to get a greater variety of that zinnia flower form in my gene pool.


Thumbnail by Zen_Man
Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi, Zen_Man! I haven;t been over in "Hybridizers" lately.

>> By saving seeds from your best Candy Mix zinnias, you can probably improve on the commercial strain.


BTW, I usually distrust any commerical "Mix" for seed saving. If I grow several colors close together, I expect the next generation to come out "muddy", especially in the red-purple-blue-lavender range.

I dn;t do any bagging or hadn-pollinating - too far behind on y basic chores to get fancy.
But I think a lot about how to colelct seed from Brassicas while growing as many varieties as I can fit into a small bed. They take so long to MATURE seed that some other variety always bolts before the first seed set is mature . I guess a floating row cover over the first crop as soon as it is fairly well pollinated, and weigh down all the edges very carefully so bees can't get under it.

Do ants pollinate Brassicas like Bok Choy?

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