NC State Extension

Zinnia Elegans ‘Sun Gold’

Zinnia elegans 'Sun Gold'

Trial: Annual

Years Trialed: 2002

Good Qualities:

Nice intense yellow (8); Large flowers (5); Flowers mostly double (4); Resists powdery mildew (2); Good branching, branches yield usable flowers (double); Attractive flower form; Very few single/semi-doubles until late in cutting stage; Excellent vase life, kept double flowers throughout season; Plant size good; Super fast crop; Phenomenal bloom size with really nice, long, sturdy stems; Color excellent, the name ‘Sun Gold’ describes it beautifully – Heavy bloomers despite dry and very hot conditions – Vase life 1 week or more; No netting needed, form; Uniform color.


Powdery mildew (3); Too short (2); Susceptible to powdery mildew, but not more so than other zinnias; Not as long stemmed as ‘Benary Giants’ – No real difference between this and the ‘Benary Yellow’; Even with a mid and late season drought, leaf diseases were still an issue; Similar to ‘Sun Cherry’ although they seemed to be a little more stunted and yellower; No insect problem until late in season, then Japanese beetles were heavy; None, even without support net.


Editor note: See the Postharvest Report in this issue for vase life and handling information. Similar to ‘Benary Giant Yellow’ (2); Would not choose to grow ‘Sun Gold’ over ‘Benary Yellow’; Benary Giant Series has a better yellow, taller plants ‘ longer stems; While this only comes in yellow, pink and red, the florists really liked them; Stem length may have been better under more favorable soil moisture conditions – This color seemed to be more susceptible to powdery mildew late in the summer than was ‘Sun Cherry’- The powdery mildew seen in early Sept. would have made ‘Sun Gold’ unmarketable but not ‘Sun Cherry’; The yellow was beautiful – It was the deepest, most vibrant yellow of all my zinnias – I would grow these again; One customer came back for a bunch of these yellow flowers several weeks in a row; I would only grow again to see if mildew problem was better – If not, I would try other varieties; Better than the Benary series yellow in bloom size and color – Will certainly plant this again; Hope they give us the whole range of colors eventually, will we ever see a blue zinnia?; Still great in October (Zone 4).

Trial Data

Zinnia elegans ‘Sun Gold’
Yield (stems/plant) Stem Length (inches) Market Appreciation Rating – Wholesale (1) Market Appreciation Rating – Retail (1) Market Appreciation Rating – Consumer (1) Repeat Again Rating (2) Ease of Cultivation Rating (2) Average Spacing (in2)
Average 10.8 14.6 4.2 4.3 4.5 3.9 4.5 151
Range of Responses 0-35 0-20 35 3-5 3-5 1-5 3-5 16-432

(1) 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the best. Market ratings are based on sales to wholesalers, retailers, or final consumers direct.


American Takii

301 Natividad Rd.

Salinas, CA 93906

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