Both these flowers delight butterflies. I planted a small row of mixed Zinnias. The Tithonia bed is 12 feet across, self-seeded. It has companions including Duranta, Muhly grass, a bit of Lantana and a Datura.
Zinnias in a row in a bed of Lantana and Gulf Muhly. Tithonia at upper right.
Once Tithonia is established, it will reseed. The seed pods look similar to those of Echinacea. I pull whole plants and lay them on the surface after frost.
I collect Zinnia seeds. Zinnia blooms are peculiar in that they have two kinds of flowers: Ray flowers, the colored part that I call petals and Disc Flowers, 'the yellow center' part.
When a bloom stops making the little yellow flowers in the center and starts to dry, I clip the stem and let it finish drying in a little wire basket. Pulling the dry petals reveals a dark shield-shaped seed at the end of each Ray flower that was pollinated.
There are enough Tithonia blossoms for each butterfly to have his own bloom. Sometimes they like to share.
Catharanthus roseus Madagascar Periwinkle
I prefer to call this annual by its common name of Periwinkle and use the Madagascar name to distinguish it from Vinca minor which some call Periwinkle. Some people call these Periwinkles 'Vinca' which adds to the confusion. Somebody mentions how much they like 'vinca' and somebody else says it's a thug. Vinca minor is a perennial thug. Catharanthus roseus is a reseeder but not a thug.
My first Periwinkles came from a Mrs. Cox who lived down at the Lake. I pulled seedling plants from her flower bed in the rain. She said they would thrive and next year I should just go out and gently stir the soil and they would come back. They did. Every year I stir again.
White Periwinkle with a pink eye, new this year.
I am saving seed from this one.
Madagascar Periwinkle seed are in slender pods an inch or two long along the stem. I pick them when the black seeds are visible though the seed pod and let them dry. Enough pods will escape me and burst open that the present bed will reseed.
Zinnias, Tithonia and Periwinkles are my favorite annuals. Dwarf Marigolds have grown large and are attracting Gulf Fritillaries and Pipevine Swallowtails. Maybe next year we'll have whole hedges of Marigolds instead of a few.