I planted zinnia seed in March and have been using the long-stem blossoms in arrangements for weeks. Arrangements: Cut zinnias. Put in vase.

A friend makes arrangements with her zinnias and inexpensive solar lights. She lets the lights charge outside before bringing them inside for evening get-togethers.

If you’ve been admiring zinnias in other gardens, it’s not too late to grow them at your house.

“We are starting our zinnia seed for a late planting,” LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings emailed from the Hammond Research Center.

“We’ll place transplants out in late July/August,” Owings said. “Late season flowering is just as good and usually better than spring flowering.”

Some of the newer zinnias include the Profusion and Zahara groups, products of crosses between old cut-flower zinnias and Mexican or narrowleaf zinnias.

Flowers and foliage are smaller than the old cut-flower types but larger than the narrowleaf zinnias. Plants reach heights of 14 to 18 inches and will bloom from planting date until first killing frost.

Newer colors include fire, apricot, coral, pink and yellow. There are double forms, too.

A full-sun location is best. Old flowers can be pinched off to encourage continuous blooming, but?Profusion and Zahara zinnias stay in flower longer than other varieties.

Powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases (caused by fungus and bacteria) are sometimes a problem on zinnias but don’t occur on the Profusion series. Zinnias perform best in drier years. They like a well-drained bed.?Water at the bottom of the plants. Wet leaves promote diseases. In general, zinnias are remarkably drought-tolerant.