Given their striking similarities in appearance, you may be wondering if there are any differences between a zinnia vs dahlia. Both pleasant flowers to view in your garden, you may want to know which flower grows best in your own backyard, or perhaps you have always wondered whether or not these two flowers are different.
In this article, we will compare and contrast zinnias and dahlias so that you can fully understand both of these flowers as individuals. We will go over their physical appearance as well as what they are typically used for in the flower world. Finally, we will address how they prefer to grow and where they originally came from. Let’s get started and learn all about these two flowers now!
Comparing Zinnia vs Dahlia
|Plant Family and Genus||Asteraceae, Zinnia||Asteraceae, Dahlia|
|Description||An annual plant or shrub typically grown from seed. Found in a variety of petal colors and arrangements. Ranges in bloom size from 1 inch to nearly 10 inches; height varies, but averages 5-40 inches tall. Always has a central head surrounded by petals.||A perennial plant grown from bulbs or tubers. Found in a variety of petal colors and arrangements. Ranges in bloom size from 1 inch to nearly 20 inches; height varies, but averages 12-60 inches tall. Petals often grow around a central head, but not always, and there are a variety of petal shapes for this flower.|
|Uses||Their ease of growth makes them ideal for a number of gardeners; zinnias reseed every year and attract a number of butterfly or hummingbird species||Beautiful in any garden, and a popular choice for bouquets. The tubers or roots are regularly consumed in Oaxacan cuisine, and the sugar in these roots was used as an early insulin substitute|
|Origin and Growing Preferences||Native to Mexico, South America, and the Southwestern US. Very hardy and easy to grow, preferring full sun and ample water. They do not transplant well.||Native to Central and South America. Prefers full sun and average water, but may need support if a taller variety. Tubers should be dug up in the winter and saved until spring.|
|Special Features and Fun Facts||Zinnias successfully grew onboard the International Space Station!||The national flower of Mexico, with more than 50,000 cultivars!|
Key Differences Between Zinnia vs Dahlia
There are a number of key differences between zinnias and dahlias. For example, most dahlia varieties grow larger than zinnias, though there are always exceptions. In addition, dahlias have many more varieties compared to zinnias. The average zinnia has a central head surrounded by petals, while dahlias do not always feature this. Finally, zinnias grow best from seed, while dahlias grow best from bulbs or tubers.
Let’s go over all of these differences in more detail now.
Zinnia vs Dahlia: Classification
While they both belong to the same family, there are some differences in the classification of zinnias and the classification of dahlias. Both belonging to the Asteraceae family, also known as the daisy or aster family, these flowers have some undeniable similarities. However, they both belonged to their own individual genuses, known as the Zinnia and Dahlia genus, respectively.
Zinnia vs Dahlia: Description
Given that there are so many different varieties of both the zinnias and dahlias, there are likely some that look strikingly similar to each other. However, most varieties of dahlia are more intricate compared to zinnia flowers. In addition, depending on the variety of dahlia plant, these plants typically grow much taller and larger than zinnia plants. However, there are always exceptions to this rule.
Zinnias and dahlias come in a variety of colors and shapes, often producing multiple blooms in a single season with proper care. However, dahlias come in more colors and shapes compared to the average zinnia plant. In addition, nearly all zinnia varieties have a centralized head surrounded by petals, while dahlias do not always feature this. You can likely tell the difference between these two flowers if the petals on one are more complicated than the petals on the other. Dahlias are more intricate and complicated compared to the humble zinnia!
Zinnia vs Dahlia: Uses
Dahlias and zinnias are popular in gardens around the world, but they have some distinct uses that are separate from one another. For example, zinnias are commonly planted in gardens to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, while dahlias are not. In addition, dahlias are frequently used in bouquets given their flower symbolism, while zinnias are lesser known and utilized.
Zinnias and dahlias also grow very differently from one another, as zinnias are most popularly grown as directly sowed seeds, while dahlias are planted as bulbs or tubers. In fact, dahlia tubers are eaten as a part of Oaxacan cuisine, while zinnias do have some edible varieties, but are not commonly consumed.
Zinnia vs Dahlia: Origin and How to Grow
Zinnias and dahlias originated in Mexico and Central America, though zinnias grow in a variety of wild locations compared to dahlias. Both of these flowers need similar levels of care, including full sunlight and plenty of water. However, zinnias struggle if they are transplanted, preferring to remain where they are planted, while dahlia tubers can be removed in the winter to preserve them for the following spring.
Zinnia vs Dahlia: Special Features
Zinnia and dahlia plants are special for a variety of reasons. For example, dahlias are extraordinarily popular, enough to merit over 50,000 cultivars and varieties, and they are technically the national flower of Mexico. Zinnias are more humble, but even they have a claim to fame. They were successfully grown on board the International Space Station, surviving in zero gravity situations!
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