If you are looking for a low maintenance colorful annual the Zinnia fits that bill. They are a member of the Aster family which includes marigolds and the sunflower. Zinnias come in a variety of colors, flower head size and heights.
Zinnias do best in full sun and soil that has been enhanced with organic matter in a well-drained area. Seeds can be planted directly in the bed after the last frost and covered with 1/4 inch of soil. Water in well and when seedlings are coming up thin them to 6 to 12 inches apart depending on variety you have chosen. The space between plants allows for air circulation which helps prevent any fungus growth.
Zinnias can be prone to black spot, rust and powdery mildew, but on the upside they attract beneficial insects, birds and butterflies. Deadheading the blooms encourages more bloom growth.
To save seeds for next year’s planting simply allow the flowers to dry on the stem then store in a dry place. Zinnias also make a great cut flower to bring indoors to enjoy.