Creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens)
The Creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens), also known as the hussar button, is a summer flower from the Asteraceae family. The genus Sanvitalia comprises about seven species, all of which are native to Mexico, Guatemala and the southwest of the USA.
The annual plant has low stems which together form a closed cushion-like cover with partly overhanging shoots. So the Creeping zinnia becomes also only between 15 and 20 centimeters high.
The stem leaves of the Creeping zinnia are entire-edged and oval-lanceolate in shape. They become one to three centimeters long and sit opposite each other on strongly branched, short leaf stems.
The yellow flower capitula of the Creeping zinnia, which are terminal on short bristly flower stems, have a brown-black centre reminiscent of small sunflowers and appear in large numbers from June to October.
As fruits, Sanvitalia procumbens forms small brown closing fruits (Achänen) in the autumn.
The Creeping zinnia thrives best in full sunlight, but also tolerates warm locations in light semi-shade.
As a potted plant, the Creeping zinnia needs potting soil with a high nutrient and humus content. The same applies to plants that are planted in the garden. However, the soil should also be deeply loosened and well permeable.
You can prefer the Creeping zinnia from mid-March in the cold box at 15 to 18 degrees Celsius. After germination, the plants continue to be cultivated brightly, airily and still somewhat cool. About eight to ten weeks after sowing, Sanvitalia procumbens begins to flower. Also possible is no-till sowing from the end of April in fresh and nutrient-rich soil.
Water the summer flower sufficiently, especially during dry periods, and preferably in the morning and evening. However, allow the soil to dry in the meantime. In this way soon dense flower cushions develop. When watering, however, make sure that there is no waterlogging, otherwise fungal diseases can occur, especially with potted plants.
The nutrient requirement of the Creeping zinnia is relatively low. Gifts with commercially available balcony fertilizer every two weeks are sufficient. If you remove and cut back the flowered parts regularly during the summer, the pile of the flowers will last into October.
The Creeping zinnia is suitable as a richly flowering Soil cover for planting flower beds. Lobelia, various types of sage (Salvia) and student flowers (Tagetes) are suitable as neighbours in the bed. You can also use Sanvitalia procumbens for bed borders or for grave planting. In the balcony box, the Creeping zinnia is planted at the front edge, allowing it to unfold according to its growth.
Not all Creeping zinnias are the same: some varieties like ‘Superbini’ grow bushy and upright, others like ‘Starbini’ hang casually over. Sanvitalia procumbens ‘Gold Braid’ has yellow flowers with brown center and grows between 15 and 20 centimeters high. Mandarin’, on the other hand, has bright orange flowers on the edge of the tongue and a brown centre, but is slightly higher at 20 to 30 centimeters. Filled flowering varieties of the hussar button are for example ‘Plena’ and ‘Goldprincess’ which both grow relatively compact. Golden carpet’ is an early flowering, golden yellow variety.
It is best to multiply the Creeping zinnia on the spot by sowing from the end of April/beginning of May. Sowing with pre-culture is also possible. As already mentioned, the plants will be planted out in mid-May as soon as the last frosts are over.
Diseases and pests
The Creeping zinnia is a very easy-care border and summer flower, which is hardly infested by diseases and pests.