Published on 07/24/17

The uproar over zinnias continues in the garden

By Norman Winter

It’s been eight years, and ‘Uproar Rose’ is still causing an uproar in the gardening world. One of the best zinnias to ever hit the market, ‘Uproar Rose’ is the one to give you bouquets for the vase and living arrangements in the landscape.

It was 2009 when the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers selected ‘Uproar Rose’ as the Cut Flower of the Year. The association has had many other outstanding selections we can all grow and cut for the vase, like ‘Limelight’ hydrangea and ‘Amazon’ dianthus.

‘Uproar Rose’ is most unique, which makes its story even more amazing. First, consider that it is a series of one. No other ‘Uproar’ zinnias exist. The ‘Benary’s Giant’ and ‘Oklahoma’ series have dozens of colors. The fact that ‘Uproar Rose’ is the only one — and is still around — is amazing.

To find a tall, cut-flower-type zinnia available as a transplant at your local garden center is also a statement. It’s kind of like looking for a four-leaf clover. But ‘Uproar Rose’ is often found along with shorter landscape zinnias like the ‘Dreamland’ and ‘Magellan’ series.

Unlike those shorter cousins, ‘Uproar Rose’ will give you a bounty of blossoms all summer. Their large, dahlia-like blooms are borne on 30-inch stems. When spaced as recommended, they also show a good level of powdery mildew resistance.

Mid-July is a great time to plant zinnias. There is a lot of growing time between now and fall’s first frost. In fact, Southern locations could probably get in two crops. Whether you choose a package of ‘Uproar Rose’ zinnias or get lucky enough to still find transplants, know that they prefer full sun to really put on a dazzling performance.

Prepare beds by incorporating 3 to 4 inches of organic matter and 2 pounds of a slow release 12-6-6 fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed space. Direct-seed, or set out transplants that have little to no color showing.

Thin seedlings to around 6 to 8 inches for the vigorous growth that is about to occur. Mulch when the seedlings are large enough or after setting out transplants. Side-dress the young plants in six to eight weeks with light applications of fertilizer.

Cut-flower growers should grow many of them in rows and with more of an agricultural look — after all, you will be cutting every day. If you don’t think people will buy cut zinnias, you should see the Saturday farmers market in Columbus, Georgia.

In the landscape, ‘Uproar’ zinnias work in a cottage setting, in a pollinator garden and simply as a taller form of intense rose in a living bouquet of mixed colors. ‘Uproar’ zinnias also excel artistically in designer containers.

Whether you choose ‘Uproar Rose’ or another variety, know that zinnias are the perfect flower to get your children or grandchildren involved in the greatest hobby on earth, gardening.

Follow me on Twitter @CGBGgardenguru. For more information about the University of Georgia Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm in Savannah, Georgia, go to

Norman Winter is the director of the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm in Savannah, Georgia.

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