Sanvitalia procumbens Creeping Zinnia, Trailing Sanvatalia1

Edward F. Gilman and Teresa Howe 2


A native of Mexico, creeping zinnia is an annual vine-like plant suited as a ground cover or for use in a hanging basket (Fig. 1). It flowers from spring into the summer in the southeastern part of the country, but may suffer in the heat in the warmest parts of central Florida. It is considered tolerant of heat and drought, an unusual attribute for many other annuals. The cultivar 'Mandarin Orange' was a 1987 All American Selection winner, and was the first orange flowered Sanvatalia.

Figure 1. Creeping zinnia
Figure 1.  Creeping zinnia

General Information

Scientific name: Sanvatalia procumbens
Pronunciation: san-vit-TAIL-lee-uh pro-KUM-benz
Common name(s): creeping zinnia, trailing sanvatalia
Family: Compositae
Plant type: annual
USDA hardiness zones: all zones (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: Jun; Jul
Planting month for zone 8: May; Jun
Planting month for zone 9: Apr; May
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Nov; Dec
Origin: native to North America
Uses: hanging basket; cascading down a wall; mass planting
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: .5 to 1 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Plant habit: round; spreading
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: not applicable
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: not applicable
Fall characteristic: not applicable


Flower color: yellow
Flower characteristic: showy


Fruit shape: no fruit
Fruit length: no fruit
Fruit cover: no fruit
Fruit color: not applicable
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: medium


Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; clay; loam
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 6 to 12 inches


Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: not applicable
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Plant in the full sun for best flowering.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are considered important.


1. This document is FPS535, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Teresa Howe, coordinator—Research Programs/Services, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS535

Date: 2015-10-04
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