Sanvitalia is a summer-blooming creeping ground cover.
image by Kurt Stueber/Wikimedia Commons, André Karwath/Wikimedia Commons
Sanvitalia, also known as creeping zinnia, is an annual flowering plant native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. It can be used as a ground cover during summer months, or to provide interest in containers and window boxes. The golden-yellow flowers with dark centers look just like miniature sunflowers, and bloom in early summer through mid-fall. Sanvitalia is easy to care for in most climates, but performs especially well in warmer areas of the world.
Choose a planting site with full sun exposure and well-drained soil. Spread a 1-inch layer of sand over the area and use a garden tiller to incorporate into the first 3 to 4 inches of soil. Sanvitalia prefers loose, permeable soil and will thrive even in low-fertility conditions.
Sow Sanvitalia seeds in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Press seeds into the surface of the prepared soil, but do not cover. Light is required for germination. Use a flat board to tamp the seeds down, and thin seedlings to one plant every 6 inches, once they are at least 4 inches tall.
Water Sanvitalia immediately after planting, and then water once every 10 to 14 days for the remainder of the growing season. Water Sanvitalia once every 7 days while the plant is actively blooming and in very dry climates or during periods of drought.
Feed Sanvitalia plants once per month using a balanced flower fertilizer. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for proper dosage, and apply a half-dosage for the best results. Over fertilization causes leggy growth and fewer blooms.
Remove withered flower blooms as soon as possible by pinching them off with your fingers. This will increase further blooming and if continued, Sanvitalia will produce flowers well into the beginning of fall. Discard plants after blooming has ceased, as they only last one season.