Oklahoma Series: The Only Zinnia Variety You Need to Grow

I’ve noticed a lot of people asking recently about the best or favorite zinnias to grow.

Zinnias are kind of a hot-button topic for most people - even if you hate zinnias and won’t grow them, you’ll have a very definitive reason as to why - but most people, especially flower farmers love zinnias and grow boatloads of them all season long.

However, not all zinnias are created equal (in my opinion at least)

The most popular zinnias for flower farmers seem to be the following:

  • Benary Giant (or Blue Point) series

  • Queen (Queen Red Lime, Queen Lime, Queen Lime with Blush, Queen Lime with Orange, Queen Lime MIx) series

  • Oklahoma series

  • Zinderella series

There are far more zinnias including the hageeana types (like Aztec and Jazzy) as well as the weird and wacky ones like Peppermint Stick and Senorita that are just as wonderful, but the ones above are the most commonly grown and used.

But what if you could only grow one?

Suspend your belief for a second and think - if you only had space or ability to grow one zinnia variety, what would it be?

Personally, my pick is the Oklahoma zinnia series.

Let me explain why.

Zinnia ‘Oklahoma Salmon’

Zinnia ‘Oklahoma Salmon’

First of all, seed for the Oklahoma series is pretty economical - far cheaper than some of the fancier varieties. This may seem like a very small thing, but when you’re buying a large quantity of zinnia seeds it does start to add up.

Secondly, the Oklahoma series is very consistent when it comes to its form. While some varieties like the Benary Giants or the Zinderella series are not reliably double, the Oklahoma series is a well-bred variety that consistently gives big, fluffy, perfect blooms. I’ve been somewhat disappointed by both the Benary Giant Salmon and Zinderella varieties as far as form and coloration since they are good colors, but I find them to be more single form than not.

Zinnia ‘Oklahoma Salmon’ on the right, Zinnia ‘Benary Giant Salmon’ on the lef

Zinnia ‘Oklahoma Salmon’ on the right, Zinnia ‘Benary Giant Salmon’ on the lef

Note: If you’re interested in increasing the percentage of your zinnias being big, fluffy, double blooms, and not sad singles, check our post on growing double zinnias here

There’s also the fact that the Oklahoma series are incredibly prolific. I’ve harvested as many as a dozen blooms at a time off a single plant, each one perfectly formed and on long strong stems, and they quickly fill up a bucket. And it seems like as soon as you cut one, they send up another two in its place - a great plant to have for when you’re needing volume!There’s a reason why the Oklahoma zinnias fill up our florist buckets, mixed bouquets, mason jar arrangements and wedding design pieces.

In addition, the smaller size of the Oklahoma zinnias really allow for you to work them into designs in away that you can’t with the larger zinnias like the Benary Giants and Uproar Rose varieties. Smaller is usually better when it comes to doing wedding work especially, and although not quite as impressive as either larger variety, they tend to play better with others.


The double shape and form of the Oklahoma zinnias are also wonderful because they have a fairly long vase life (double or super fluffy flowers always have a longer vase life than single flowers). When properly conditioned and kept in clean water, I’ve had them last well over a week. Like dahlias - where pompon and ball-shaped dahlias last far longer than dinnerplate and collarette shapes - so do the fluffy Oklahomas last longer than the larger varieties (beautiful as they are).

The Oklahoma zinnias also don’t look like your garden variety zinnias to the average viewer. Although they definitely are zinnias and give that flower-farm vibe, they look different than the random mixes that can be planted from a packet of seeds. They are more full, more robust, more intense in coloration and more uniform in size and shape and color.

To help differentiate your flowers from the flowers that people just grow on their own as a hobbyist, it does help that your flowers look like they are intentionally selected for flower farming - and the Oklahoma series does just that.

Really, the Oklahoma zinnia series is just so likeable and versatile and reliable that it’s hard to come up with an excuse not to grow them - no matter if you’re growing for market, for florists or for your own design work or even just for you own personal enjoyment in the garden.

Although it’s too late to sow zinnias in all but the warmest places of the continental US right now, you can start planning for next year! Here are some great sources for the Oklahoma series.

If you’re new to growing flowers and you’re interested in learning about growing zinnias, check out our guide for growing gorgeous zinnias here!

More on growing zinnias

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