Profusion zinnias have officially made the jump from international succes to intergalactic!
In mid-January 2016, Scott Kelly, Expedition Commander on the International Space Station, tweeted a photo of a blooming zinnia at the International Space Station 250 miles above earth. The blooming zinnia is a fantastic development for the future of cultivating flowers and vegetables in space ventures to come. The #SpaceFlower, as Kelly hashtagged in his twitter post, was none other than Sakata Seed’s Profusion Orange zinnia. Profusion Orange is a favorite from our extensive line-up of ornamental offerings and an All-America Selections Gold Medal Winner. The variety has continually received accolades and gained popularity in the industry throughout the years for its excellent series uniformity, extreme heat and drought resistance, and disease resistance, making it easy to grow.
The zinnia space cultivation began November 16th, 2015 by astronaut, Kjell Lindgren, as part of the Veggies experiment, which tasked astronauts with the challenge of autonomous gardening in deep space. As part of the Veggie system, Lindgren activated rooted ‘pillows’ of Profusion zinnia seeds in November of 2015. Come December, astronaut Kelly began to care for the young plants and reported the plants to be ‘not looking too good.’
In response, the Veggie experiment team stationed on Earth quickly responded with the ‘Zinnia Care Guide for the On-Orbit Gardener.’ Instead of an extensive, cryptic document, the guide provided a one-page list of cultivation ‘suggestions’ to couple with an astronaut’s own personal judgement skills and instincts. The guide worked! Along with Kelly’s eye for gardening, the zinnias were quickly on the rebound, and the first bloom was reported shortly thereafter on January 12th, 2016. Over the course of the next few weeks, Kelly featured the zinnia on his Instagram feed and in Twitter many times. Even posting a bouquet of Profusion zinnias floating over earth in honor of Valentine’s Day!
Gardeners in all kinds of climates, even those in the most hot and humid locales, can have even more confidence in the performance of Profusion zinnias. Garden communicator Felder Rushing, a self-described hard-core, 10th generation Southern gardener that resides in Mississippi, "Hurrah for American horticulture! For the very first time, a flower has been grown successfully from seed in the zero gravity of outer space. The botanic honor goes to Profusion zinnia, which for many years now I have touted as one of the best flowers for kids and flower newbies, really any earthling gardener, to plant. Profusions are covered with medium size flowers, non-stop, with fewer problems with diseases in our humid climate. This summer I will be extra proud in my little garden, knowing that my Profusion zinnias will look up with high hopes, knowing their kin have reached the stars."
Sakata Seed is proud to have an industry-proven variety that is able to go from international success to intergalactic! The ability of Profusion to grow in the most extreme, unpredictable conditions is a true testament to the vigor and flower power of this amazing plant! Something to note… Kelly made his way back to earth on March 1. We wonder if he’ll be gardening with Profusion zinnias in his own backyard someday soon.