Thursday, May 7, 2009


We started our garden at the Pleasantville Farm! Thus far, we’ve selected lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, basil, oregano & strawberries. They didn’t have the Albion strawberries I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, but a strawberry plant of any kind is ok in our book.

“Beneficial” flowers are recommended in a vegetable garden. What the heck is a beneficial flower, you ask?

Beneficial flowers attract beneficial insects. Such insects are ladybugs, lacewings, mini wasps (not the paper wasps everyone is afraid of), etc. These bugs either pollinate or take care of other garden pests.

Diane’s Seeds has some great descriptions of what flowers attract what kind of beneficial insect. Where as, Garden Insects tells you what insect you need for a type of pest. I was going to suggest you use the two together to come up with a cross reference, but how about I put together a cross reference for my next post? I like you guys, so I’ll do that for you.

Not all flowers are allowed according to the agreement we signed when renting our plot. Anything invasive was out and typical bedding plants (petunias, geraniums, begonias) don’t necessarily attract the right insects.

To be quick about it, I choose a flower I knew I liked. I was buying a package of seeds and I didn’t need that many for the bed (only 10% beneficial flower plantings are allowed). So I wanted to pick something I would be willing to plant in the landscaping and/or containers at home too.

Without further ado, I present, Zinnias

Category Annual
Common Name


Formal Name Zinnia elegans
Description This easy-to-grow annual is an all-time garden favorite. Zinnias generally bloom profusely throughout the entire summer until fall.

Zinnia Seeds - small Sorry, I only have pictures of the seeds right now.

I’ll replace with a picture of the real thing once they start popping up.

  • Cut Flowers
  • Mid to Rear Flower Garden
Light Requirements

Full Sun

Soil Requirements Thrives in a wide variety of soils
Water Requirements Moderate watering until maturity (allow surface to dry between waterings)
Height 3’ – 5’
Spread 9” – 12”
Growing Zone 3 – 10
Manicuring or Pruning Excellent cut flowers – cut just before peak of bloom. Cut individual stems after flower fades.
Fertilization Minimal fertilization required
Growth Cycle Annual
Bloom Time Late summer to early fall
Bloom Color Orange, Yellow, Pink, White, Red


Maintenance Level Low
Special Features
  • Attracts Birds
  • Attracts Butterflies
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects (hoverflies & mini parasitic wasps)
Known Issues Unknown


myra said...

Thanks I needed some help for my garden I just started for my 6year old.

The Laughing Idiot said...

You're welcome! You should have a lot of fun this summer.

One thing I've heard recommended was kid sized tools. They're a little easier for little ones to control and what kid wouldn't want his/her own tools?

SquirrelQueen said...

I didn't know about beneficial flowers, maybe that would help my black thumb when it comes to growing vegetables. I am going to make some notes to save.

Speaking of purple roses, the one on my page is my fantasy rose and only exsists in my mind. I had hoped the title would help.
Anyhow there are purple roses, one name I can remember and I hope this is right is Ebb Tide. Sorry about the mix-up but I would love to find real ones.