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NC State Extension

Zinnia ‘Oklahoma Scarlet’

Trial: Annual

Year Trialed:2008

Good Qualities

Clear bright colors (7); Productive (7); Color is uniform (2), just an occasional orange bloom. Vigorous growth, good germination, easy to transplant and establish in the field; Fantastic performers! Tall plants produced long stems, blooms were in a variety of different forms – from standard zinnia to ball dahlia – many with interesting curled petals and/or tones of color, a really intriguing seed mix! Our customers loved these delightful blooms, kids liked them also, we often combined ‘Oklahoma Pink’ and ‘Scarlet’ for a surprisingly cheerful mix! Flowers held a long time on the plants; Lots of long stem flowers on each plant, withstands winds/rain with support better than larger type blooms, dependable; Very striking with good stem length; Long lasting in vase, cute; Healthy plants with long stems; Less prone to melt down and weak neck than larger zinnias, gives great texture in bouquets when used with large zinnias or lisianthus; People and hummingbirds like zinnias; About a week earlier than the ‘Giants’, attractive small flower.


Flowers are too small (4); Color not uniform, some flowers were more orange than red (2); None; Not much different than other OK’s I grown, scarlet got marred by rain; WAAAAAAY too short, and the flower heads are useless to us for the way we sell zinnias- by the stem….couldn’t ask as much for them, therefore I won’t grow them again; Diameter of blooms was not uniform, number of petal layers also varied, seemed to go down with each cut; All had to be sprayed for fungus, due to our very rainy summer; Unattractive white spots appeared on some flowers against the bright background, may have been caused by insect damage or from dew; Hard to get a really long stem when cutting; Mildew; Standard zinnia problems, weak neck, barely acceptable vase life, not enough of the nice big really double flowers, we would not choose to grow these zinnias again; Sensitive to our high EC water; Plants tall but usable stems shorter than the ‘Giants’; Size of blooms varied greatly, some singles, not as prolific as others in the Benary series.

Similar Cultivars

None listed by respondents.


I liked having the separate red in addition to my regular Oklahoma mix, I offered straight bunches of ‘Oklahoma Red’ at the Farmers Market and although the Benary Giants usually attracted the most attention, the straight bunches of ‘Oklahoma Red’ proved popular as well, in terms of harvesting, it takes about the same amount of time to pick and bunch Giants and OK’s but have to put more in the bunch to get the same retail price for the customer to perceive equivalent value, from a harvesting and processing viewpoint it takes more time and effort for the same return because you are handling more stems, I like the red and will definitely grow it as a separate color next year; Great little zinnias!; Susceptible to Japanese Beetles; Best results when you do not harvest as frequently so that the flowers get more substance, good in bouquets because of vase life, but not a big seller as straight stems; Good bright color; Harvested between 7/22-8/15 (transplanted to the field April 22), Harvested between 7/10-8/8 (transplanted to the field May 22); Entire zinnia crop was planted late while I was out of town, this year, I pinched in August and cut back severely in late August which did increase stem length, I could have sold all of the large flowered ones if I’d been able to keep the mildew preventative spray; Flower head = 3 cm; Wish they could improve this variety to ensure greater uniformity and doubleness.


‘Oklahoma Scarlet’ benefits from the addition of a floral preservative; Cooler temps!; Remove about 1/3 of leaves (lower ones); Surface sterilize stems in a 10% bleach solution, we don’t use floral preservative with zinnias, we avoid keeping them in the cooler.

Trial Data

Zinnia ‘Oklahoma Scarlet’
Yield (stems/plant) Stem Length (inches) Market Appreciation Rating¹ Repeat Again Rating¹ Ease of Cultivation Rating¹ Average Spacing (in2) Average Postharvest Life (days)
Wholesale Retail Consumer
Average 11.9 17.0 2.8 3.8 3.6 3.3 4.3 143 7.3
Range of Responses 1-52 10-24 1-4 2-5 2-5 1-5 2-5 42-252 7-10
¹1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the best. Market ratings are based on sales to wholesalers, retailers, or final consumers direct.


Benary Seed
1444 Larson St.
Sycamore, IL 60178

Page Last Updated: 5 years ago
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