Sanvitalia

Sanvitalia flowers

A family of tender, low growing, spreading plants that bear masses of small bright yellow flowers throughout summer.

Family: Asteraceae (daisy family)
Botanical Name: Sanvitalia
Common Names: Mexican creeping zinnia, golden stars, miniature sunflower

Foliage: Oval pointed, felted, pale-green leaves.

Flowers: Small bright, yellow or orange flowers, either single with a large purple-black centre or double with pointed ray petals.

Flowering Period: June to October.

Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Best in full sun. Grow in a west or south facing aspect.

Habit: Low growing, spreading, trailing.

Type: Tender Perennial (treated as Half Hardy Annual).

Origin: Mexico

Hardiness: Tender in the UK. Protect from frost.

Planting and Growing Sanvitalia

Easy to grow and low maintenance. Flowers over a long period. Flourishes in light, well-drained soil, in a warm sunny position.

Suitable for the rock garden, dry walls, dry sunny slopes, path edges or large containers.

Taking Care of Sanvitalia

Water regularly during dry weather and water container grown plants daily.

To improve flowering, apply an all-purpose flowering plant food (slightly higher in phosphorus and potassium) every few weeks, or use a slow release form. Do not over fertilize.

Pruning

Deadhead regularly to extend the flowering period.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free

Propagating Sanvitalia

Sow seeds under glass in trays of seed compost, in late March at 18 to 20°C (65 to 68°F). Prick out and pot on once large enough to handle. Harden off and plant out at the end of May when all danger of frost is past.

Can also be sown directly in open prepared ground at the end of April.

Popular Varieties of Sanvitalia

There are a few garden worthy species.

Sanvitalia speciosa mound forming plant that produces yellow star-shaped flowers on bushy tight green foliage. Height to 12in (30cm).

  • 'Aztec Gold' vigorous variety, suitable for baskets and containers. Available from Mr Fothergills.
  • 'Million Suns' new cultivar producing an abundance of perfectly formed, golden yellow flowers.
  • 'Starbini' compact form that keeps its shape well. Bright yellow flowers.

Sanvitalia procumbens (creeping zinnia) low growing spreading annual, forming a creeping mat of green foliage, with dark-centred yellow or orange flowers. Height to 6in (15cm). Popular cultivars include:

  • 'Orange Sprite' trailing form with semi-double orange flowers with dark centres. Ideal for containers and baskets. Height: 4in (10cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • 'Solaris┬« Compact' bears an abundance of bright daisy-like flowers. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.