Zinnia grandiflora @ChatfieldBG 2006jun29 LAH 003rAPPEARANCE

Resembling a carpet of sunshine, prairie zinnia will delight you with a profusion of gold flowers late summer through fall. A native southwest perennial, prairie zinnia grows low and mounded. Tiny needle-like leaves of light green grow 4 to 8 inches tall topped with vibrant, nearly round yellow-rayed flowers.


This native wildflower loves the heat and sun. It thrives in dry, well-drained soil and can grow on slopes and in rugged terrain. Prairie zinnia is hardy in zones 4-7 and is deer and drought tolerant. It grows naturally throughout the southern regions of the intermountain west. Start seeds indoors in the spring or sow in the garden in late spring. For a longer flowering period, sow the seed in succession. It will self-seed once it is established.


Prairie zinnia forms masses of golden flowers resembling daisies on finely textured foliage growing from a woody base. The low, shrub like growth makes a good ground cover, spreading 4 to 15 inches wide. Prairie zinnia is perfect for naturalizing, in borders and edging around other dry loving plants such as penstemon and cacti. The flowers remain from summer to fall and attract birds and butterflies. Remove the dead flower heads to increase the number of flowers and length of bloom.

Contributed by Valerie Smith, Colorado Master Gardener. For answers to your horticultural questions, contact the Master Gardener Help Desk at 520.7684, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, or CSUmg2@elpasoco.com

Photo by Leslie Holzmann, Colorado Master Gardener.

Rose - JoanNusbaum Aug 09 036APPEARANCE

One might consider the rose to be the Queen Mother of the perennial garden. Despite the hesitation some gardeners have about growing roses in Colorado, they can be grown in most communities with good success. While the American Rose Society lists 48 rose classifications, the best roses for Colorado fall into the following types: hybrid tea, miniature, floribunda, grandiflora, climber, polyantha, shrub and Old Garden Rose. Traditional colors as well as blends, bi-colors, cream, magenta, brown and many others make up the palette of rose colors.


While experienced rosarians may prefer to start with bare-root, dormant plants, potted roses are also available. After selecting healthy plants from a reputable source, site selection is the next key decision. Choose an area that gets five to six hours of sun daily, as well as good air circulation. Bare root roses should be planted in the spring while potted varieties may be planted during the growing season as long as there is time to get the roots established before the first killing frost, approximately six weeks. Care should be taken in the winter to provide monthly water as well as protection from freezing temperatures. It is equally important to prepare the soil sufficiently. Colorado State University extension offers guidelines on planting and selection.

Roses should be pruned to thin out dead, weak and old growth. Begin a fertilizing routine once growth begins in the spring. Certain pests and diseases may need to be thwarted, especially if you grow modern roses.


Due to the many beautiful varieties, there is a rose for every spot in the landscape. While some may be grown for the perfection of the individual bloom, others can be used as hedges, on trellises, in the perennial bed or window box or for mass floral effect. In spite of their cultural needs, roses are worth the effort.

Contributed by Joan Nusbaum, Colorado Master Gardener. For answers to your horticultural questions, contact the Master Gardener Help Desk at 719.636.8921 or CSUmg2@elpasoco.com.

Photo courtesy of Joan Nusbaum.